New research to inform good management of key polar bear populations



Posted on 11 February 2013  | 
OTTAWA –  New financial contributions from WWF in support of polar bear research are improving the knowledge of key polar bear populations. The contributions were made possible by the WWF/Coca-Cola Company Arctic Home campaign.  Research projects are underway across the Canadian Arctic to update information about the status of polar bears in Baffin Bay/Kane Basin and Viscount Melville Sound.

WWF is working with regional governments to support the gathering of up-to-date population information necessary for effective conservation of polar bears.  Polar bears have great cultural, spiritual and economic significance to Inuit. The current population surveys are an important part of the basis for sustainable management of the populations to ensure long-term health. 

WWF contributed just under $200,000 altogether to the surveys. Results from the surveys will be completed and shared beginning in April 2013.

“Knowing more about these high arctic polar bear populations is critical to our work in conservation,” says Clive Tesar, head of WWF’s Last Ice Area project. “These populations are in the area where resilient summer sea ice is predicted to persist the longest. Knowing the current numbers and distribution of polar bears there provides valuable baseline information for the future when summer ice around the rest of the Arctic is projected to dramatically recede. “

“We are proud to help support regional Canadian governments in ensuring the long-term sustainability of the polar bear. For a sustainable future, business, government and civil organizations like WWF have to work together.  We are pleased to have made this contribution to the continued health of polar bear populations while respecting the traditional cultural rights of the Inuit,” says Nicola Kettlitz, President of Coca-Cola Ltd. “Our Company is committed to continuing to support this work to maintaining a sustainable Arctic Home for both polar bears and people.”

There are 13 subpopulations in Canada: one is shared with the United States and three are shared with Greenland. Polar bear subpopulations in Canada are surveyed according to provincial and territorial inventory schedules and are based on priority-need and the time elapsed since the last inventory. 
WWF is currently celebrating Year of the Polar Bear, marking 40 years of polar bear conservation leadership from polar bear range states. 

About WWF
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with almost five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

For more on WWF’s Arctic work: www.panda.org/arctic
For more on the Last Ice Area project:  www.lasticearea.org

For more information, please contact:
Clive Tesar
WWF Last Ice Area project lead
Email
(+1) 613-232-2535


A polar bear cub hitches a ride.
© WWF / Angela Plumb Enlarge

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