A Warm Winter in Canada Causes Tragedy

Feature story - February 6, 2006

Abnormally warm conditions in Canada this winter have led to a devastating tragedy for the grey seal population near Nova Scotia. A lack of sea ice this year forced many seals to give birth on a small island, which was flooded by a large storm this week. Of an estimated 2,000 seal pups on the island, it is believed nearly 1,500 were swept out to sea and drowned.

Mother seals desperately tried to save their pups, but without the blubber needed to float, the pups were simply too young to survive.

Seals, polar bears, and many other wildlife species in the Arctic depend on sea ice to breed, feed, and survive. But evidence of global warming is already challenging their survival, and many scientists predict mass extinctions on the horizon.

Greenpeace is currently involved in a lawsuit to list the polar bear as an endangered species due to global warming. This latest tragedy points yet again to global warming, and raises concerns about the safety of harp seals, who are expected to give birth in late March.