USGS Director James Reilly released a study on polar bears he had stalled for months on Friday

In response to the Post report, Reilly sent an email to his staff the next day, saying his decision to delay was justified because he wanted to be “satisfied” with its underlying science before making it public.

The study, which had been obtained by The Post last month, notes that shrinking sea ice in the Arctic threatens the survival of polar bears while enhancing the opportunity for fossil fuel exploration there. “The long-term persistence of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) is threatened by sea-ice loss due to climate change, which is concurrently providing an opportunity in the Arctic for increased anthropogenic activities including natural resource extraction,” it said.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had been seeking the report’s release for at least three months, according to several individuals briefed on the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The agency is legally required

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Some polar bears in far north are getting short-term benefit from thinning ice — ScienceDaily

A small subpopulation of polar bears lives on what used to be thick, multiyear sea ice far above the Arctic Circle. The roughly 300 to 350 bears in Kane Basin, a frigid channel between Canada’s Ellesmere Island and Greenland, make up about 1-2% of the world’s polar bears.

New research shows that Kane Basin polar bears are doing better, on average, in recent years than they were in the 1990s. The study, published Sept. 23 in Global Change Biology, finds the bears are healthier as conditions are warming because thinning and shrinking multiyear sea ice is allowing more sunlight to reach the ocean surface, which makes the system more ecologically productive.

“We find that a small number of the world’s polar bears that live in multiyear ice regions are temporarily benefiting from climate change,” said lead author Kristin Laidre, a polar scientist at the University of Washington Applied Physics

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