Polar Bears in the Limelight
For the first time since 1981, the contracting parties to the agreement for the conservation of polar bears are holding an official meeting in Tromsö in the Norwegian Arctic.
The agreement was signed in 1973, when over-hunting was the biggest threat to polar bear survival. These days, the survival of the polar bear species is endangered by the far more complex phenomenon of climate change.
Today, there are between 20- and 25,000 polar bears living around the north pole, in territory belonging to the USA, Russia, Norway, the autonomous Danish island of Greenland, and Canada. These numbers could be reduced by as many as two thirds in the foreseeable future unless the Arctic sea ice can be preserved.
WWF has great polar bear photos and info on their site, including this link, where you can follow the polar bears they are tracking:
Following polar bears with WWF
The IUCN polar bear group has been the main body involved in publicising and protecting polar bears.
IUCN dossier on polar bear as Red List endangered species
Geoff York is WWF’s polar bear coordinator. I called him up to find out how he and WWF view the current status of polar bears and what they expect from this conference. Listen to his views for yourself:
DateMarch 16, 2009 | 12:37 pm