Leaders commit to conservation measures at Polar Bear Forum

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Ministers and other national representatives made commitments today at the International Forum on Conservation that will help polar bears persist across their Arctic range. The commitments were made at a forum in Russia supported by WWF.

“The Arctic States’ response goes some way toward guaranteeing a future for these magnificent animals,” says Jim Leape, WWF International Director General.

So, what of the polar bear? © WWF / David Jenkins

“The states have built on forty years of good conservation planning. I urge them to redouble their efforts to ensure we meet the challenges of the next forty years – by implementing the circumpolar action plan for the bears and taking action on climate change.”

Another key commitment made in the Forum Declaration is that the five states responsible for polar bear populations – , Norway, Denmark and Greenland, Russia and the United States – will work on managing the polar bears’ home in ways that will take into account the Arctic’s shrinking ice, and increasing industrial interest.

Polar bear, Beaufort Sea, © naturepl.com / Steven Kazlowski / WWF-Canon

“We welcome all the commitments made today,” says WWF polar bear lead, Geoff York. “But we will also be watching to see that they are backed by action. WWF will track the activities of the states in an annual report card. We will also continue to support critical polar bear work across the Arctic, contributing our resources and expertise to assessing the health of populations, identifying and managing key habitats, and reducing conflict between bears and people.”

While the Forum commitments will help with managing polar bear habitat and with direct threats to the bears, these can only go so far. At the current rate of warming, climate change will ultimately erode the sea ice habitat on which the bears rely.

Addressing this longer-term threat will require investment from the range states and beyond in .

This article was written for and published by WWF Global.

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Jd Creager
Jd Creager

Polar bear are a recent species, about 20,000 years. Not all species make it. the polar ice caps are the largest in history. No such thing as global warming, Minus 135F in Antarctica last week, New South Wales have record snow fall. Egypt, Israel and Syria had record snow falls and the USA was blanketed with snow and record cold temps. World wide cooling! The best way yo maintain a species is through hunting, those hunters put more money into conservation than the bunny huggers.

Mark McCandlish

I would also like to suggest several alternatives that might be worth considering. (1) In every instance where a Polar Bear has died, DNA specimens should be taken and preserved for future genetic diversity- if (and hopefully) when the sea ice returns. (2) That a large scale Polar Bear habitat be created with a complete artificial environment that replicates the normal conditions these animals are accustomed to hunting in– complete with seals for them to capture and eat. It could be ten to one hundred square miles, enough to give the territorial boundaries the bears would need. (3) Institute a… Read more »