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Updated: Tue, 02 Sep 2014 23:32:31 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Polar bears: Endangered species or political pawn?



A polar bear keeps close to her young along the Beaufort Sea coast in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska in a March 6, 2007 file photo. Oil from a spill or oil well blowout in the Arctic waters of Canada's Beaufort Sea could easily become trapped in sea ice and potentially spread more than 1,000 kilometers to the west coast of Alaska, a World Wildlife Fund study showed on July 25, 2014. REUTERS/Susanne Miller/USFWS/handout (© UNITED STATES - Tags: ENERGY ENVIRONMENT ANIMALS DISASTER)

A polar bear keeps close to her young along the Beaufort Sea coast in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska in a March 6, 2007 file photo. Oil from a spill or oil well blowout in the Arctic waters of Canada's Beaufort Sea could easily become trapped in sea ice and potentially spread more than 1,000 kilometers to the west coast of Alaska, a World Wildlife Fund study showed on July 25, 2014. REUTERS/Susanne Miller/USFWS/handout (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENERGY ENVIRONMENT ANIMALS DISASTER) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - RTR40582 Susanne Miller/Reuters

Reports of the polar bear's dwindling population have made it an ideal symbol for the real world effects of climate change. But some say those numbers are overstated, and it's the politics around polar bears that's really at play.

As Reg Sherren reports, the science is split.

Some argue models projecting the loss of sea ice clearly spell disaster for the polar bear. While others are adamant that polar bear populations don't appear to be in decline at all.

Click on the video clip above to watch Reg Sherren's report.

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