Bears Polar

Polar bears could disappear by 2100 due to melting ice, climate change, study says – NBC News

Polar bears have long been the poster child of the consequences of climate change. A new study now suggests the Arctic species is at risk of being starved into extinction by the end of the century.

As sea ice continues to vanish due to warming temperatures, polar bears are increasingly struggling to find the food they need to survive, says the University of Toronto-led study published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change on Monday.

There are an estimated 22,000 to 31,000 polar bears in the wild, according to the World Wildlife Fund, although precise numbers are hard to determine due to their remote habitat. The species is listed as vulnerable.

Polar bears rely on sea ice for hunting seals, their primary food source, according to the new study. But the spread of ice has been on the decline as climate change accelerates the rise in temperatures at the poles, keeping them on land where it’s harder to catch seals.

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While the bears can fast for months, their survival depends on how much energy they’ve managed to reserve through eating ahead of time, the energy they expend during the fast and how long a fasting period lasts, the study said.

Researchers admit it’s unclear exactly how long the bears can endure fasting before it affects their ability to reproduce or individual mortality.

But in at least two regional groups of polar bears, prolonged fasting periods have already shown to negatively affect their body condition, reproduction rates and size of their populations, the study said.

A stray polar bear walks on a road on the outskirts of the Russian industrial city of Norilsk in June, 2019.Irina Yarinskaya / AFP – Getty Images file

This trend is expected to be seen across groups of polar bears in the Arctic as ice loss continues.

The species ability to adapt is also in doubt. At the end of the last ice age, polar bears failed to move and survive on land, and instead migrated further north. “Foods that meet the energy demands of polar bears are largely unavailable on land,” the study said.

The Arctic was set to have warmed twice as much as the global average in 2020 compared with pre-industrial temperatures, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

It’s contributed to some of the lowest levels of sea ice ever recorded. In September, following the summer melting season, sea ice declined by more than 50 percent compared to the average from 1979 to 2019, the organization has reported.

This is already having dire consequences. In Siberia, a prolonged heatwave that began in January has sparked wildfires that scorched more than 2.8 million acres in late June.

An analysis led by the U.K.’s Met office that was published last week found that the prolonged heatwave was made 600 times more likely because of human-caused climate change.

Polar bears, along with the rest of the Arctic environment, aren’t without hope, however.

“Ultimately, aggressive greenhouse gas emissions mitigation will be required to save polar bears from extinction,” the recent study said.

Image: Linda GivetashLinda Givetash

Linda Givetash is a London-based producer for NBC News. 

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Bears Mitch

Bears QB Mitch Trubisky could end up like Kyle Fuller — or Kevin White – Chicago Sun-Times

Mitch Trubisky can be Kevin White or Kyle Fuller.

Now that the Bears have done the expected and declined his fifth-year option for 2021, the 2017 No. 2 overall pick is on the clock.

He has a year to fight for his place with the organization.

That begins with winning the starting job. The Bears say he’ll take the first snap of the first practice — whenever that may be — but their offseason moves showed how little faith they have in him. They traded a fourth-round pick for Nick Foles, giving him at least $21 million over three years, because they think he’ll be needed.

Whether Trubisky wins the job will chart his course toward White or Fuller.

The Bears’ declining of White’s fifth-year option two years ago was their most obvious move of the decade. In three years, the No. 7 pick of the 2015 draft had only 21 catches for 193 yards.

The Bears signed Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel in March 2018. A month later, they traded up to draft Anthony Miller in the second round. They didn’t need White anymore and weren’t going to count on him to produce. White was a healthy scratch in seven games in 2018. He caught four balls for 92 yards — but one was a 54-yard Hail Mary that fell a yard short of the goal line against the Patriots. He left after the 2018 season and hasn’t played a regular-season snap since.

Three years ago, general manager Ryan Pace decided to decline Fuller’s fifth-year option. Former GM Phil Emery’s last first-round pick had missed all of the previous season after having arthroscopic knee surgery in August. Pace signed veteran Marcus Cooper to a three-year, $16 million deal, not willing to rely on Fuller to take the next step.

Fuller began 2017 as the starter because of Prince Amukamara’s injury, then started for Cooper when he hurt his back before Week 5. Fuller never looked back.

“He has helped resurrect his career,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said then.

Fuller was so valuable by the end of 2017 that the Bears issued him the transition tag, which would have paid him $12.97 million in 2018. He wound up making even more when the Packers signed him to a four-year, $56 million offer that the Bears quickly matched.

If Trubisky plays as well in 2020 as Fuller did in 2017, the Bears could use a similar mechanism to keep him in place. The 2021 franchise tag will cost at least $3 million more than the $24.8 million the Bears would have otherwise owed Trubisky — but the team would likely be thrilled to pay it. Presuming, of course, that the Bears don’t need to use it on Robinson, whose contract extension has yet to materialize this offseason.

Only one top-five pick from 2017 — No. 1 overall selection Myles Garrett — had his option picked up. But Trubisky is the only one in the group compared to the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and the Texans’ Deshaun Watson, who will soon negotiate contracts to override their fifth-year options. Still, a world exists — if the Bears have the appetite to run the ball and tight ends to catch it — in which Trubisky could be a competent starter.

In that sense, he’s probably closer to ex-Bear Leonard Floyd, a 2016 first-round pick, than White or Fuller. Trubisky and Floyd have otherworldly athleticism for their positions, but it hasn’t translated on Sundays.

The Bears picked up Floyd’s option last year but cut him before he could play his fifth season after watching him get only three sacks.

The Bears decided Floyd simply wasn’t good enough.

Trubisky’s bosses have pointed him down the same path. He has a year to change their minds.

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Bears Previewing

Previewing Bears depth chart after 2020 NFL draft – Windy City Gridiron

Chicago Bears projected offensive depth chart after 2020 NFL draft

Position Starters 2nd string 3rd string Depth Depth
Position Starters 2nd string 3rd string Depth Depth
QB Mitchell Trubisky Nick Foles Tyler Bray
RB David Montgomery Tarik Cohen Ryan Nall Artavis Pierce (R) Napoleon Maxwell (R)
X WR Allen Robinson Javon Wims Thomas Ives Ahmad Wagner (R)
Z WR Riley Ridley Darnell Mooney (R) Reggie Davis Alex Wesley
Y WR (slot) Anthony Miller Cordarrelle Patterson
U TE Jimmy Graham Ben Braunecker Jesper Horsted Eric Saubert Darion Clark
Y TE Cole Kmet (R) Demetrius Harris Adam Shaheen J.P. Holtz
LT Charles Leno Jr. Jason Spriggs Dino Boyd
LG James Daniels Arlington Hambright (R) Lachavious Simmons (R)
C Cody Whitehair Sam Mustipher
RG Germain Ifedi Alex Bars Corey Levin Dieter Eiselen (R)
RT Bobby Massie Rashaad Coward Badara Traore

It is very likely that Nick Foles will take over as the starting quarterback for the Bears, possibly as soon as Week 1. However, Chicago has made it clear that, to start their open quarterback competition, Mitchell Trubisky will begin as the starter.

While not a massive overhaul, there has been improvement in terms of the team’s weapons compared to last year. Cole Kmet and Jimmy Graham provide for a better tight end duo than the oft-injured Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen, who is momentarily ahead of players like J.P. Holtz and Jesper Horsted but is arguably more likely to get cut.

Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller provide a rock-solid duo at receiver, especially if Miller can build upon the second half of his 2019 season. The ‘Z’ receiver spot will likely be a battle between youngsters Riley Ridley and Darnell Mooney, so the Bears will have to rely on one of them stepping up in a big way early in their respective careers. The lack of depth behind David Montgomery at running back is a bit worrisome though, since Tarik Cohen isn’t a heavy-load back. It might not hurt for the Bears to bring in a free agent to compete with Ryan Nall and their two undrafted rookies, Artavis Pierce and Napoleon Maxwell.

The starting offensive line seems fairly set in stone, as Germain Ifedi brings much more starting experience than any other guard the Bears currently have on the roster. Jason Spriggs could bring some solid value as a swing tackle, but Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie’s starting roles are safe for this season. It could be interesting to see the likes of Spriggs, Alex Bars, Rashaad Coward—who is technically a tackle but had to spend much of 2019 at guard—Arlington Hambright and Lachavious Simmons battle for roster spots as depth pieces.

Chicago Bears projected defensive depth chart after 2020 NFL draft

Position Starters 2nd string 3rd string Depth Depth
Position Starters 2nd string 3rd string Depth Depth
DE Akiem Hicks Brent Urban Abdullah Anderson
NT Eddie Goldman John Jenkins Lee Autry (R)
DE Bilal Nichols Roy Robertson-Harris Trevon McSwain (R) Lacale London (R)
EDGE Khalil Mack Trevis Gipson (R) James Vaughters Ledarius Mack (R)
ILB Roquan Smith Josh Woods Rashad Smith (R)
ILB Danny Trevathan Joel Iyiegbuniwe Keandre Jones (R)
EDGE Robert Quinn Barkevious Mingo Isaiah Irving
Boundary CB Jaylon Johnson (R) Kevin Toliver Artie Burns Stephen Denmark Xavier Crawford
FS Eddie Jackson DeAndre Houston-Carson
SS Deon Bush Jordan Lucas Kentrell Brice
Field CB Kyle Fuller Sherrick McManis Tre Roberson Michael Joseph
NB Buster Skrine Duke Shelley Kindle Vildor (R)

As it stands right now, the Bears’ defensive starting lineup appears to be fairly set in stone.

Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman have their starting spots lined up, and Bilal Nichols will likely get the slight edge over Roy Robertson-Harris, who has been used mostly in a rotational role. The depth along the defensive line isn’t all that great though, so look for undrafted free agent Trevon McSwain out of Duke to push for a backup spot.

The edge rusher position was improved significantly in the offseason, as Leonard Floyd and Aaron Lynch were replaced by Robert Quinn, rookie Trevis Gipson and Barkevious Mingo. Quinn should form a dangerous pass-rushing duo alongside Khalil Mack, while Gipson and Mingo bring some much-needed depth. The Bears have another talented duo at inside linebacker in Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan, but the depth behind them is poor with the departures of both Nick Kwiatkoski and Kevin Pierre-Louis. That could open up an opportunity for former Florida Atlantic linebacker Rashad Smith to steal a roster spot as an undrafted rookie.

The secondary is where things get interesting. Kyle Fuller and Eddie Jackson are among the best at their respective positions, and second-round pick Jaylon Johnson is pro-ready enough that he could take the starting cornerback spot alongside Fuller from Week 1. Buster Skrine is also safe as the team’s starting nickel back this year. However, Deon Bush is a serviceable, if uninspiring starter at strong safety, and the depth at safety isn’t stellar. The Bears could look to add a veteran in free agency to compete for a roster spot.

The backup cornerback spots will also be tough to predict, with as many as seven of the cornerbacks after the aforementioned starters staking reasonable claims to make the roster. Among those on the bubble could be Tre Roberson, Artie Burns, Stephen Denmark and Duke Shelley, who is danger of losing his second-string nickel role to Kindle Vildor. Chicago could move one of their cornerbacks to safety, but it will be a hard-fought battle until the regular season begins to claim those last one or two spots on the roster.

Chicago Bears projected special teams depth chart after 2020 NFL draft

Position Starters 2nd string
Position Starters 2nd string
K Eddy Piñeiro Ramiz Ahmed
P Pat O’Donnell
LS Patrick Scales
KR Cordarrelle Patterson Anthony Miller
PR Tarik Cohen Eddie Jackson

The Bears’ special teams roles are set in stone, barring injury. Pat O’Donnell and Patrick Scales have no competition for their respective jobs, and Eddy Piñeiro played well enough that his job is in little to no danger, even with Ramiz Ahmed on the roster. Chicago’s two returner spots are also filled up with two of the best kick and punt returners in the league in Cordarrelle Patterson and Tarik Cohen, respectively.

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