Polar bears face decimation because of the warming planet
Endgame for polar bears as Arctic habitat melts away
24th August, 2011
The recent polar bear attack in Norway is the latest reminder that time is running out for these iconic mammals, with runaway climate change and habitat loss. Gavin Haines reports
I was awoken suddenly by what sounded like firecrackers going off. They were coming from outside, but as I peered through the curtains of my hotel room, the streets of Churchill, Canada appeared calm and quiet; I went back to sleep questioning whether it was a dream.
Later, over breakfast, I’m told that my ears weren't mistaken; a marauding polar bear had ventured into town at dawn, forcing locals to set off firecrackers in a bid to scare it off. Residents were on high alert; the day before another bear had chased a man through the coastal town, which sits on the edge of the Hudson Bay, and very nearly caught him.
'A guy was taking photographs on the beach when this polar bear appeared and started chasing him,' explains Hayley Shephard, my tour guide in Churchill.
'Fortunately the rangers were nearby so they drove their vehicle between the bear and the man but the bear became aggressive and smashed the hood – they ended up shooting it.'
As I listened to tales of close encounters in Canada, over in Norway a group of British students were embarking on an ill-fated trip into the Arctic.
It was, tragically, an adventure they didn’t all return from; in the night a...
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