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For any form of publication, please include the link to this page and give the cartographer/designer credit (in this case Riccardo Pravettoni, UNEP/GRID-Arendal)
Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP). 2004.
AMAP Assessment 2002: Persistent Organic Pollutants in the Arctic. AMAP, Oslo.
IUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialist Group. 2009. Press Release: 15th meeting of the PBSG in Copenhagen, Denmark 2009. http://pbsg. npolar.no/en/meetings/press-releases/15-Copenhagen.html [Accessed 10 February 2010].
Uploaded on Tuesday 21 Feb 2012
Polar bear sub-populations and pollution
Riccardo Pravettoni, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
There are thought to be between 20,000 and 25,000 bears in the world, which occur in19 relatively discrete sub-populations, some of which are shared between nations. Topping the food chain in the Arctic, the polar bear is exposed to high levels of pollutants that are magnified with each step higher in the food web (a process known as biomagnification). Recent studies have suggested that the immune system may be weaker in polar bears with higher levels of toxic contaminants (e.g., Polychlorinated Biphenyls or PCBs). There is also evidence that the hormone system of polar bears is affected by pollution, something that may interfere with reproduction and growth. Climate change could also indirectly affect Arctic animals topping the food chain, such as the polar bear, through the secondary release of toxic contaminants have long been trapped in snow, ice and permafrost that is now melting.