Conflict | WWF
 
	© Elisabeth Kruger / WWF-US

Living with polar bears

How northern communities are keeping polar bears and people safe from conflict
As Arctic sea ice thins and retreats, increasing numbers of polar bears are spending longer periods in the summer open-water season resting along Arctic coastlines. Here, their powerful sense of smell attracts them to human waste, stored food, dog teams, and animal carcasses—bringing them into greater conflict with Arctic people.

As powerful predators, polar bears pose a major risk to human life and property. Throughout the polar bear’s range, attacks on humans and property continue to rise. In recent years, more than 20 direct attacks on humans have been reported within the polar bear’s range.

WWF is helping communities live safely alongside the Arctic’s top predator.

 

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7 DEADLY CONFLICTS AVERTED EACH YEAR

ON AVERAGE, 7 FEWER POLAR BEARS ARE KILLED EACH YEAR IN DEFENSE OF LIFE AND PROPERTY IN ARVIAT, CANADA, THANKS TO A SUCCESSFUL PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN WWF AND THE HAMLET OF ARVIAT.

WHERE WE WORK

HOW WE WORK

Education

We share information with local communities, scientists and commercial sectors (tourism, mineral extraction) on preventing conflicts and dealing with polar bears.

Food storage and waste management

We work with communities to improve waste management, safely store food for people and dogs, and to remove animal carcasses from towns.

Polar bear patrols

We fund training and salaries for local people who deter polar bears from villages and safeguard communities.

Sharing knowledge across the Arctic

We organize workshops and exchange visits between Arctic communities facing polar bear conflict. For example, members of the Russian polar bear patrols traveled to Alaska with WWF’s support to help communities there launch their own patrols.

Tracking conflict

We promote the Polar Bear Human Interaction Management System (PBHIMS), a database that will inform management decisions to reduce human-polar bear conflicts. This system captures data on bear sightings, polar bear natural history and management,and human-polar bear interactions.
The history of the polar bear patrol
Russia’s Umky Patrol was established in 2006 with the support of WWF. Today, there are more than a dozen patrols in 3 countries.

 
	© naturepl.com / Steven Kazlowski / WWF
© naturepl.com / Steven Kazlowski / WWF

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