Please feed the bears, maybe: scientists say humans could step in

The Canadian Press
Associated Press

EDMONTON - Several top scientists say it might be time to start thinking about setting out food for some polar bear populations.

In a newly published paper, the researchers argue that the loss of sea ice the bears use to hunt is so advanced in some areas the mighty Arctic predators may no longer be able to survive without human help.

Andrew Derocher (deh-ROW'-shehr) at the University of Alberta says some populations are so fragile that one bad year could cause widespread starvation.

Derocher says sea ice trends in Hudson Bay suggest a catastrophic year could happen any time.

He says bears in that area are already stressed and recent studies show them in poor condition with few cubs.

Derocher says the public will have to decide how it wants to handle the prospect of large numbers of bears dying.