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September 21, 2010

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Explorers fear for the polar bear

GLOBAL warming is taking its toll on the Arctic and the polar bear is in danger, scientists said yesterday on their return to the city.

They had been on the Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, China's only icebreaker which had just completed its fourth expedition to the polar region.

During the 82-day expedition the 122-member team, including eight expatriate scientists, reached the northernmost point of any previous Xuelong expedition, collecting special samples from the North Pole and conducting marine and climate research.

Scientists landed on the North Pole by helicopter twice in August to take samples.

"The biggest impression was the large ice melting," said Yu Xingguang, the team's chief scientist. "Previously, we saw big coverage by sea ice. This time the ice was in small blocks, which is why Xuelong went so far north."

He also said the team only saw one polar bear, while they had encountered the animal many times in the past.


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