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Kids Care About: Polar Bears

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LONELY BEAR This polar bear lives at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, in Alaska. It’s one of about 25,000 left in the wild. PATRICK J. ENDRES—GETTY IMAGES

TFK Kid Reporter Victoria Hanson cares about polar bears. She talked to experts about why these animals are in danger and how people can help.

Polar bears live mostly within the Arctic Circle. They’ve been on the endangered-species list since 2008.

DISAPPEARING HABITAT This polar bear is in Nunavut, Canada. It’s standing on a melting ice patch.

PAUL SOUDERS—GETTY IMAGES

I asked Carter Roberts, president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund, why. His answer was that global warming is to blame. “As warm temperatures melt sea ice, they melt the bears’ habitat,” Roberts told me. “And as the ice melts, scientists predict that polar bear populations will be devastated.”

GOING FOR A SWIM An adult polar bear takes a dip near a glacier in Svalbard, Norway.

PAUL SOUDERS—GETTY IMAGES

So I did some research. Global warming is caused by the burning of fossil fuels. This releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Over the past 150 years, people have used more and more engines and other machines. These devices burn fossil fuels such as coal and oil.

A CUTE CUB Polar bear cubs love to play. This fluffy one seems to wave hello from its den in Wapusk National Park, in Canada.

ANDREANITA—GETTY IMAGES

What’s being done about global warming? I checked in with Benjamin Wilson, an environmental lawyer, to find out. He told me that the United States government has laws that are “designed to protect people, animals, and the environment as a whole.”

POLAR FOOTPRINTS A polar bear’s paw is about 12 inches wide. Sharp claws help the bear grip the ice.

PAUL SOUDERS—GETTY IMAGES

Wilson’s law firm works to make sure companies follow these rules. It also works with companies that are developing solar and wind energy. These energy sources will reduce the amount of fossil fuels people need and slow global warming—helping to save the polar bear’s habitat.

You Can Help, Too!

PREDATOR AND PREY Polar bears are carnivores. Ringed seals are one of their favorite foods.

DARREL GULIN—GETTY IMAGES

Do you love polar bears as much as I do? You can help stop global warming and save their habitat. Here are some ways to reduce the burning of fossil fuels.

When traveling a short distance, ride a bike instead of riding in a car.

Turn off the lights when you leave a room.

Take shorter showers.

Close doors immediately behind you, so heat doesn’t escape.

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