Satellite imagery revealed that the Arctic sea ice cover fell to its lowest level in recorded history during the 2007 melting season, opening up the Northwest Passage. As the ice cover diminishes, the long sought wish of trade is becoming a reality—a shortened global shipping route through the northern waters. Polar bears depend on this same ice for their habitat, access to food, and breeding sites. Experts predict that two-thirds of the world’s polar bears will disappear by 2050.
Olsson, Justin. “The Future of the Polar Bear Rests on Thin Ice: Listing Under the ESA and Its Impacts.” Sustainable Development Law & Policy, Fall 2007, 46, 85.