WWF will present over 40 thousand signatures for polar bears to 5 Arctic states



Posted on 04 December 2013  | 
Mother Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) with her cubs walking on ice near Churchill, Manitoba, Canada.
Mother Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) with her cubs walking on ice near Churchill, Manitoba, Canada.
© David Jenkins / WWF-CanadaEnlarge
WWF, the world nature conservation organization, has collected tens of thousands of signatures from all over the world, in a petition to the participants of the International Forum on the Conservation of Polar Bears that is taking place on December 4-6 in Moscow.

High-ranking environmental government officials from 5 Arctic states have gathered in Moscow to plan for the future of the polar bears. That future is uncertain, as climate change rapidly alters the Arctic, melting the sea ice polar bears need for their survival.

Forty years ago, the "range states" where polar bears live in the wild - Norway, the US, Canada, The Kingdom of Denmark, and Russia - signed a legally-binding agreement to conserve polar bears and their Arctic habitat. Due in large part to the Agreement and efforts by the five polar bear range states, polar bears still roam much of their historic range and occur in relatively large numbers today.

However, now the polar bear is facing new threats, such as more active shipping, oil and gas exploration, and climate change.

Since September 2013, WWF has been gathering signatures all over the world to convince the range states to take on serious commitments on the polar bear conservation.

“One of our requirements to the Arctic countries is an extensive study of polar bear populations by 2016. Currently scientists do not know the size of the species populations, because its monitoring is a technically challenging task: huge distances, severe Arctic conditions, and others. Due to lack of data on the size and distribution of the populations, it is impossible to accurately determine measures for their protection”, says Vladimir Krever, WWF-Russia biodiversity coordinator.

The petition also asks the Forum participants to complete a global conservation plan, and to work with indigenous peoples, international community, corporations, and organizations to make this work a reality.
According to very approximate estimations, about 25 thousand polar bears live in the Arctic. Their long-term survival is threatened by climate change.

For additional information, please contact
WWF-Russia in Moscow: +7 (495) 727 0939,
Masha Vinokurova +7903-273-6079 mvinokurova@wwf.ru

Text of the Petition
We ask the range states to lead the way again, by...
  1. Completing a global conservation plan and putting it into action by 2015
  2. Committing to vital research on polar bear population status and habitat requirements by 2016
  3. Working with Indigenous peoples, the international community, corporations, and organizations to make this work a reality.
Let's make 2013 the Year of the Polar Bear.
Mother Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) with her cubs walking on ice near Churchill, Manitoba, Canada.
Mother Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) with her cubs walking on ice near Churchill, Manitoba, Canada.
© David Jenkins / WWF-Canada Enlarge

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