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Last Updated: Thursday December 28 2006 13:12 GMT

Polar bears 'need more help'

A polar bear walking on ice

Polar bears should get extra help because they are struggling to survive now that ice caps are melting, the American government has said.

The furry bears might be put into the category of 'threatened species', which means they'll get more protection.

They're in danger because global warming is melting ice in the Arctic, and they live in cold, icy climates.

This is the first time George Bush's government has recognised that global warming might be hurting animals.

A polar bear

There are between 20-25,000 polar bears in the world. And about 4,700 of them live in the US State of Alaska.

Animal campaigners will be happy if the polar bears do get labelled as 'threatened' but this will only happen after more studies have been done in about a year's time.

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