New names for polar bears: Sola and Yume!WWF in the Arctic links with WWF-Japan to spread word about climate impact on Arctic
Following the success of our ‘Name Our Polar Bears’ competition in the Netherlands last year, WWF’s International Arctic Programme linked up with WWF-Japan this year to invite youngsters from Japan to give names to the two polar bears we follow on our Polar Bear Tracker website.
Japan embraces the polar bears
The competition generated huge interest in Japan, with national tv, radio and newspapers all including stories about the impact of climate change on the Arctic, and details of the competition itself.
Asahi, a major national newspaper, included a feature on the competition on its front page, while NHK national television featured the story on its morning show. Ten radio stations also featured the competition, along with National Geographic Channel Japan and Animal Planet. National Geographic Channel Japan produced a video about the competition and the plight of the polar bear and featured it for a month.
Two major zoos in the Tokyo area, the National Science Museum and a planetarium also had events about the competition and the impact of climate change on the Arctic. A stationery company even helped print and distribute posters to 250 elementary schools.
And the winners are...
As a result, 1970 people sent in their suggestions for names for the bears. The winning names were Sola (sky) and Yume (dream) and were chosen by Aoi Onda, 5, and Yukimi Abe 7, and 16 other entrants.
Masako Konishi, climate change officer with WWF-Japan, said: “Polar bear mothers with cubs are good messengers for the impact of climate change on the Arctic as a result of global warming. Japanese people are very concerned about what’s happening there and want to take action to combat global warming.”
Japan's role in combatting climate change
Japan was the host country for the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, and plays a major role in international efforts to combat global climate change. Japan is the fourth largest emitter in the world of carbon dioxide emissions but is also a country which is proud of its energy efficiency.
Yurika Ayukawa, head of the climate change group at WWF-Japan, said: “Japan has a responsibility to exercise leadership in combating global warming. Although its emissions are still increasing despite its pledge of reducing them by six percent from 1990 levels, Japan has the technology and resources which should enable it to meet its target. We strongly urge the Government to introduce binding economic measures, such as a cap and trade emissions trading scheme, which will enable Japan not only to meet its target but also to transform Japan in the long term into a low-carbon society. Japan should at the same time contribute to reducing the world’s emission by transferring its state- of-the-art energy efficiency technology to the developing world.”
Unfortunately nothing is certain in the realm of the polar bear!
As WWF decided on names for the two bears we’ve been following since the spring, the radio collars on bear 2183 stopped transmitting. This is a regular hazard in the harsh climate of the arctic. However, we have given the name "Yume" to the new bear we’re tracking, and bear 2182 has been renamed Sola – find out more about the bears on the Polar Bear Tracker website.