polar bears

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

With ice caps shrinking and global temperatures on the rise, animals who live in the Arctic Circle are at increasing risk. Today, we speak with two scientists from Polar Bears International who spent their summer in and around the Arctic studying the namesake animal of that organization. With less ice on which to hunt, will the iconic northern predator adapt in time to avoid extinction?

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

If you're a zoo-lover, you’ve probably heard that the Kansas City Zoo’s very popular Polar Bear, Nikita, has a new friend.

Six-year-old Nikita, a male, has been joined by female Berlin, 17 years his senior.

Berlin came to Kansas City from the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth. Her habitat there had been destroyed by this summer's floods. 

After a short stay with two neutered males at the Minnesota Zoo, wildlife conservation experts decided to pair Berlin with a more virile male.

Federal agents interviewed new witnesses this week in an ongoing investigation of government scientists that's been called "polar bear-gate," according to the scientists' lawyer.

The controversial probe, now entering its third year, is looking into allegations of scientific misconduct related to a 2006 report by wildlife researchers Charles Monnett and Jeffrey Gleason, who described seeing dead polar bears floating in Arctic waters.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We're going to look now at an animal whose habitat is slowly disappearing. Polar bears live on sea ice. But Arctic sea ice, which used to stay frozen in the summertime, is now slowly disintegrating. This poses a unique challenge for scientists, government officials and others. How do you preserve the polar bear and prevent it from going extinct decades from now? Juliet Eilperin of The Washington Post has been reporting on this issue. And she joins us now to talk about what she's learned.

Juliet, good morning.