Climate change affects animals also

2009-12-10 09:18 BJT

Special Report: UN climate change conference in Copenhagen |


While delegates from around the world are gathering in Copenhagen for the biggest climate change talks in history, on the other side of the world, species continue to suffer from the change in the environment. Even conflicts between human and animals are emerging.

Global warming is causing large patches of Arctic ice to melt. Polar bears feel the heat from the changing climate.

A Russian polar bear expert says urgent measures are needed to protect Russia's polar bear population from further decline.

Nikita Ovsyanikov, Polar Bear Expert, said, "I remember some years after the ice melted, up to 15 percent of the bears arriving on the island were completely exhausted."

The expert says polar bear hunting is the main cause of the decline in the population. The increased amount of open water forces polar bears to stay on shore where they are easily killed by humans. He estimates only 21 thousand polar bears remain in the world.

Polar bears aren't the only species being threatened by global warming. People living in polar regions are also feeling the impact. Global warming means shorter winters and with less snow and ice there are less nutrients for the fish. With fewer and smaller fish, Greenland's principal industry is in for a rocky future.

Niels Ole Moller, Royal Greenland Plant Manager, said, "Quantities have fallen. Around ten years ago, or ten to fifteen years ago they caught twelve thousand tons, perhaps more, and this year we are predicting eight thousand."

With less and smaller fish to catch, some fishermen have given up and found jobs in shops and local industries but unemployment is very high.