Each year on 27 February the world focusses their attention on these iconic species as part of International Polar Bear Day, which is organised by the Polar Bears International (PBI) conservation group.
According to the WWF, Polar bears are classed as ‘vulnerable’ status with maybe as few as 25,000 of these enigmatic marine mammals remaining in the wild. Polar bears are found within the Arctic region, primarily within the US, Canada, Norway, Greenland and Russia. Growing up to 9 feet in length, and weighing up to 1,300 pounds, some 60% are resident in Canada’s wilderness. Environmental issues are creating life-threatening problems for these hunters who spend more than half their time foraging for food – as just 2% of this time results in food actually being consumed. In total there are 19 units of polar bear, with eight currently at serious risk of habitat loss, due to the melting of the Arctic. The WWF has more details on their Polar Bear Week.
The PBI is also dedicated to highlighting the issues that polar bears face from the threat of global warming. The day was set up to focus on education of environmental issues and this year’s campaign is centered on making a commitment to reduce your carbon footprint. The PBI offers practical (as well as money saving tips) such as reducing your household, and indeed workplace, thermostat controls in winter, and to raise the temperature on your air conditioning system in the summer (if applicable). Just a two degree shift could save as much as 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year – significantly reducing your carbon footprint. More details.
The BBC covered the plight of these creatures as part of its wildlife documentary series The Polar Bear Family & Me, which aired last January. The YouTube clip below shows a bear stalking prey. Catch up with this fascinating three part series via the BBC TV service.
Both organisations invite you to get involved with International Polar Bear Day, by taking part in fun and educational community events, as well as making small changes at home to ensure the future survival of these.