06 Jan 2012:
Seal Populations Plummet as
North Atlantic Sea Ice Thins, Study Says
A new study says that thinning sea ice in the north Atlantic has caused a catastrophic decline in harp seal populations
, a trend animal advocacy groups say should spur an end to commercial hunts of the animal
in Canada. According to the study, conducted by scientists at Duke University and the International Fund for Animal Welfare, sea ice cover in all harp seal breeding regions has declined by as much as 6 percent per decade since 1979. Since female seal pups depend on stable winter ice to give birth and nurse their young, these changing conditions have produced a higher seal mortality, said David Johnston of the Duke University Marine Laboratory and lead author of the study, which was published in the journal PLoS ONE
. “Entire year classes may be disappearing from the population in low ice years” Johnston said. “Essentially all of the pups die.” According to Canada’s Fisheries and Oceans department, as many as 80 percent of seal pups born in 2011 may have died because of a lack of sea ice.
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Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.
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An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
Ugandan scientists monitor the impact of climate change on one of Africa’s most diverse forests and its extraordinary wildlife. Learn more.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
video goes onto the front lines with Colorado firefighters confronting deadly blazes fueled by a hotter, drier climate. Watch the video.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.