Narwhals more at risk than polar bears, says study
Polar bears get all the press, but climate change may be even harder on the narwhal, says new research. Narwhals, the whales whose long spiral tusks kick-started the myth of unicorns, top a list of 11 at-risk Arctic marine mammals published in the journal Ecological Applications. Hooded seals, bowhead whales, and walrus rounded out the top five, while ringed seals and bearded seals, which are being considered for endangered-species protections, were at the bottom of the list. Narwhals are “not that cute,” says lead author Kristin Laidre, and thus don’t get the attention that polar bears do. And speaking of polar bears (sorry, narwhals), an independent committee has advised the Canadian government that the bears, while probably not at their happiest in a changing climate, are not threatened with extinction.