From: Louise Gray
Published September 16, 2008 10:27 AM

Polar bears 'could become extinct' because of melting ice, scientists claim

Polar bears and other rare species are in danger of dying out, scientists fear, as latest figures show the Artic sea ice is at record lows.

Scientists from the World Wildlife Fund, who are recording the ice cover over the North Pole, said less ice is predicted in the Arctic this year than in any other.

Experts say this not only means a loss of habitat to species like polar bears and loss of livelihood for indigenous peoples but could speed up global warming as water absorbs heat rather than reflecting the sun's rays back into space.

Dr Martin Sommerkorn, senior climate change advisor at WWF International's Arctic Programme, said: "We are expecting confirmation of 2008 being either the lowest or the second-lowest year in terms of summer ice coverage.

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