Updated: | Originally published:

Images, whether captured by a satellite, a scientist, an explorer, a photojournalist or an artist, enable us to record, study and reflect on our planet’s evolving state.

To raise awareness to the planet’s changing climate, melting ice, and its impact on polar bears, a group of scientists and conservationists with the non-profit Polar Bear International have marked Feb. 27 as the International Day of the Polar Bear. They believe that as the amount of sea ice declines, polar bears in the wild are at greater risk of extinction.

Under the Endangered Species Act—which the Republicans in Washington have said they will seek to “modernize”—polar bears are listed as a threatened species.

With recent projections of ice sheets melting at increasing rates, the polar bear’s survival (in the arctic) is dependent on the continued existence of sea ice, their natural habitat, which is in rapid decline. In Antarctica, scientists believe that ice sheets are melting at ever faster rates.

Correction: The original version of a photo caption misstated the location where a polar bear was photographed underwater. It was in Lancaster Sound of the Canadian Arctic, not in Alaska.

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