PBI Sustainability Alliance to the Rescue
Polar bears will need more help as their habitat changes. PBI team members are gearing up for the challenge.
The arctic sea ice is shrinking. Polar bears are experiencing shorter hunting seasons. Many are stranded on shore. As the warming continues, scientists predict we'll see more:
- Starving or injured polar bears
- Orphaned cubs
- Landlocked bears that arrive in coastal villages in search of food—posing a threat to themselves and people
- Zoo experts skilled in rescue and rehabilitation efforts
- Biologists who work with wild polar bears
Together, they're planning right now for the challenges ahead. The goal? Help communities live safely with their bears and help stranded polar bears in need of care.
There's Lots for the Team to Do
- Networking with authorities in the polar bear nations to let them know help is available
- Holding workshops and training sessions to help communities manage bear encounters
- Preparing guidelines for rescue and rehab efforts
- Gathering needed tools and equipment—from tranquilizer guns to transport cages
- Lining up potential homes for rescued cubs
- Assembling a boots-on-the-ground squad
One key workshop that the team took part in was Polar Bear Focus Day at the International Bear/Human Conflict Workshop in Canmore, Alberta. The summary is available here. “It's up to each government to make decisions concerning its polar bears,” says Cutting. “Our role is not to tell policy-makers what to do—but to offer help as needed.”
Saving Arctic Sea Ice
These front-line efforts will help individual bears in the short term. And a remnant population—aided by our team—could help maintain a viable and diverse gene pool to repopulate the Arctic.
But, ultimately, the only way to save polar bears is to save their sea ice habitat by greatly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
It's up to each of us to make this happen.