Protecting critical habitats
It’s official – 2013 is the Year of the Polar Bear, according to the World Wildlife Fund which seeks to protect at all costs this beautiful but endangered species.
World Wildlife Fund, also known as WWF, is proclaiming 2013 the Year of the Polar Bear as it marks 40 years of conservation efforts for the bear.
“This is a key year for polar bears,” says WWF international lead on polar bears Geoff York. “While polar bears and their Arctic home face a challenging future, we need to recognize, and celebrate, the conservation achievements to date.”
2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears – a concerted international action to protect this magnificent species and its habitat.
Due in large part to the Agreement and efforts by the five polar bear range states – Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States – polar bears still roam much of their historic range and occur in relatively large numbers today.
At the same time, the bears stand on the brink of an uncertain future. A rapidly warming Arctic means the sea ice upon which the bears depend is projected to dramatically shrink over the next several decades due to climate change.
“The range states have an opportunity in 2013 to repeat the successes of the past 40 years,” says York. “By committing to habitat protection, addressing climate change, managing harvest, mitigating Arctic industrial development and funding polar bear research, these countries can ensure polar bear populations remain healthy for the next 40 years and beyond.”
Over the course of the Year of the Polar Bear, WWF will support polar bear research projects around the Arctic and encourage firm conservation commitments at this autumn’s pivotal meeting of the range states.
WWF works to protect critical habitat for polar bears, including important movement corridors and denning habitats, and to prevent or remove additional stressors from industrial activity such as oil and gas development and arctic shipping.
WWF also supports community involvement in conservation and management and monitors the setting of harvest levels by the responsible authorities. Learn more about the Year of the Polar Bear and the WWF at http://panda.org/polarbearyear.
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