Read the article about polar bears and do the following exercises.
Polar bear makes the list.
In Spring 2008, the polar bear was placed on the endangered species list. According to the Endangered Species Act, an endangered species is an animal that is likely to face extinction in its natural habitat. Polar bears have been categorized as a "threatened" species. A "threatened" species is one that is expected to become "endangered" in the foreseeable future.
The polar bear is the first animal that has been classified as endangered primarily due to global warming. Global warming is caused by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that become trapped in the atmosphere. Heating homes, driving cars, and burning garbage all require fossil fuels that lead to global warming.
The polar bear's habitat is more vulnerable to global warming than many other species. Polar bears live mainly on the sea ice in the Arctic. This is where they hunt for fish and build up fat reserves. When the ice melts many polar bears move to land and live off their stored fat. In the Arctic, global warming is causing the ice to melt slightly earlier and form slightly later. This results in a shorter feeding season for the polar bear. Some risk their lives to find ice. If they have to swim too far they will drown from exhaustion and hunger.
It is not only the polar bear that is at risk in the Arctic. Every species of plant, animal, and insect there is threatened by global warming. It is important that animals such as the polar bear make it onto the endangered species list. Once they are on the list there are laws that protect these animals from being hunted for food or sport. In fact, it is rare for a species to go extinct after they make the list. Sadly many species do go extinct while waiting for consideration.
Choose true or false:
1. Polluted water poses the greatest threat to polar bears today.
2. When ice melts, polar bears live and hunt in the sea.
3. Unfortunately many species become extinct while waiting for consideration.