By Sebastien Malo
NEW YORK, Jan 22 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Drinkers of a vodka brand known for its distinctive polar bear logo are getting more than just the liquor they bargained for: food for thought with bearless bottles meant to illustrate the ravages of climate change.
The limited batch of Polar Ice Vodka bottles from which the brand's polar bear has been scratched is meant to prompt consumers of the Canadian brand to ask themselves "Where's the bear?", the company said in a statement.
It's a "nod to what the future will look like as the polar bear population declines and sea ice continually melts in the Arctic," it added.
The predators' populations are likely to fall by more than 30 percent by around mid-century as global warming shrinks their habitat amid thawing Arctic sea ice, a 2015 study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature has found.
Polar Ice Vodka, whose makers say is inspired by Canada's glacial north that includes an archipelago of 36,000 Arctic Ocean islands where polar bears roam, teamed up with U.S. advocacy group Polar Bears International for their campaign.
"The missing polar bear serves as a poignant reminder of what we stand to lose unless we take action on climate," Krista Wright, head of Polar Bears International, said in a statement.
Canada is home to two thirds of the global polar bear population, or about 16,000 bears.
Due to climate change, scientists predict sea levels are on track to surge as temperatures rise, posing threats such as deadly heat, extreme weather and land swallowed by rising water.
World leaders mobilized to curb man-made greenhouse gas emissions to fight global warming in a 2015 agreement, although the United States has since said it would withdraw from the landmark deal.
(Reporting by Sebastien Malo @sebastienmalo, Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)
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