MONACO: Prince Albert of Monaco on Wednesday reached the South Pole and became the only head of state to have travelled to both the poles, his office said in a statement.

The 50-year-old ruler of Monaco embarked on January 5 on a month-long expedition aimed at evaluating the impact of climate change on Antarctica. In 2006, the monarch spent 14 days walking to the North Pole.

Prince Albert, who made the environment a priority after acceding to the throne of his tiny Mediterranean principality in 2005, has already visited more than 10 Antarctic scientific stations and met their teams, the palace said.

Several recent studies have suggested that more ice than before is melting on Antarctica, which stores some 70 per cent of the world’s fresh water and until now seemed to have largely escaped the effects of global warming.

Monaco last May became the 47th state signatory of the Antarctica Treaty which regulates human activities on the continent.—AFP