US polar bears mark their territory

More than two years after Alaskan polar bears were given a protection status of “threatened species” by the US Endangered Species Act, the Obama administration set aside on Wednesday 24 November 484,330 sq kilometres — twice the size of the UK — in Alaska as “critical habitat”.

Almost all of the area is offshore sea ice habitat — where polar bears spend most of their time hunting seals, breeding and … Read the rest

Sizing up the spill

When the government began releasing estimates of the size of BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil well leak, scientists and environmental groups questioned the figures, certain the leak was larger. New research supports that notion. According to the study, published in Science, some 4.4 million barrels of oil has escaped into the ocean. It is the first independent, peer-reviewed paper on the size of the leak. (doi: 10.1126/science.1195840)

Timothy Read the rest