Beyond 40 years of successful polar bear conservation
2013 is the 40th anniversary of a turning point in polar bear conservation – the agreement of the five countries with polar bear populations to protect this species throughout its Arctic range from the threat of sport hunting and commercial harvesting. Signed in 1973 by Canada, Denmark, Norway, The Soviet Union and US, this visionary Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears enshrined protection of the species, its prey and all necessary habitats. Polar bear numbers have since increased to an estimated 20-25,000 individuals. WWF played a supportive role then and is now working with the five countries to address the crucial new threat: warming of the Arctic due to climate change and melting of summer sea ice – vital for food and breeding.