May 15
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Guest Blog: Join Our SOS! Campaign to Help Polar Bears with Polar Bears International

If you are a fan of ARKive, you’re a fan of wild animals. At Polar Bears International, we love all animals, but especially polar bears. In fact, we’re the champion for polar bears and are doing everything we can to help them. But we can’t do it without you. That’s why we initiated a Save Our Sea Ice (SOS!) campaign.

Mrs. McKiel's 1st and 2nd grade students at Carpathia School in Winnipeg, Canada, created this bulletin board for the Save Our Sea (SOS!) campaign.

Mrs. McKiel’s 1st and 2nd grade students at Carpathia School in Winnipeg, Canada, created this bulletin board for the Save Our Sea (SOS!) campaign.

Polar Bears International’s SOS! campaign focuses attention on the urgent challenges polar bears face in a changing Arctic—with longer and longer ice-free periods threatening their survival—and the part each of us can play in stopping global warming, beginning with personal habits and expanding out to the community.

The campaign features a series of energy-saving efforts that begin each year on International Polar Bear Day, February 27th, and continue through the summer melt period. We’ve linked our challenges to earth awareness days, but you can launch any of these efforts at any time:

  • International Polar Bear Day, February 27 – Celebrate polar bears with us by taking our Thermostat Challenge, adjusting your thermostat up or down by three degrees depending on the season. And then make every day a Polar Bear Day by switching to a programmable thermostat, insulating your home, or installing solar panels to save energy.
  • Earth Hour, March 23 – Join us on Earth Hour by switching off the lights for one hour, at 8:30 p.m. local time, and make it a Polar Bear Hour by eating a cold, energy-saving meal. Then make every hour an Earth Hour through our Power Down Effort—at home, school, and in the office.
  • Earth Day, April 22 – Celebrate Earth Day with us by turning off your engine for waits longer than thirty seconds when dropping off or picking up passengers at an Earth Day event. And then make every day an Earth Day by taking our No Idling Challenge and using our toolkit to set up No Idle Zones. Why? Because a surprising percentage of greenhouse gas emissions from cars, light trucks, and vans come from idling engines with no transportation benefit.
  • Endangered Species Day, May 17 - Help polar bears and other endangered species every day by Sizing Up Your Pantry. Take stock of your pantry and think about your food choices, recognizing that fewer food miles, organic farming methods, and minimal processing and packaging have less impact on the planet—and can help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.
  • World Oceans Day, June 8 - Take action for polar bears and the sea ice they depend on every day with our Green House Grocery List. Begin by assessing your typical week’s grocery list to see how you measure up; then make adjustments where you can. Why? Because your food shopping habits can help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing the planet to warm and the sea ice to melt.
Polar bear family jumping between ice floes © Dick and Val Beck/Polar Bears International

A polar bear family jumps from floe to floe in a melting Arctic. To save arctic sea ice, we must each do our part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

To save polar bear habitat, we need to embrace sustainable living as a society. A promising shift is underway in sectors including transportation, energy usage, and food production—all of which have an impact on greenhouse gas emissions. You can become part of the momentum for change by modifying your own habits and taking action in your community in support of greener choices—from bikes lanes to farmer’s markets—that make a low-carbon lifestyle easier.

Find out more

Learn more about the polar bear and its arctic habitat on ARKive.

Find out more about Polar Bears International and how you can get involved by visiting their website.

Mar 13
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What is the World’s Favourite Species?

It’s ARKive’s 10th birthday this year and we want you to join our celebrations by helping us find the World’s Favourite Species.

We think all the world’s species are amazing but which is your favourite? Which animal, plant or fungi is so special that it deserves to be crowned the World’s Favourite Species?

Nominate today!

Nominations are now open and it couldn’t be simpler to vote  - simply find your favourite species on ARKive and click the ‘Nominate Today!’ button.

You have until 3rd April to suggest your favourites (and yes, you can choose more than one species!), after which we’ll draw up the shortlist and put it to the public vote. This shortlist will be whittled down to determine the Top Ten World’s Favourite Species – as chosen by you.

We can’t do it without your input – please spare a few moments to make your nomination TODAY!

Need some inspiration?

There are over 15,000 species on ARKive to nominate, so here are a few suggestions to start you off…

Will you nominate the polar bear - our most visited species so far this month?

Photo of polar bear with cubs

What about a newly discovered species? Is the Louisiana pancake batfish your favourite?

Louisiana pancake batfish

The osprey features as our no.1 video, but will it be no. 1 species?

Photo of osprey in flight carrying fish

Vote now, and share your nominations on Facebook and Twitter!

Mar 6
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In the News: USA and Russia unite to protect the polar bear

As the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties continues, the USA and Russia have come together in an attempt to ban export trade in polar bear products.

Male polar bear

Canada is home to three-quarters of the remaining polar bear population

Polar bear trade

In a bid to provide polar bears with the highest level of protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the American-Russian proposal calls for a ban on any international commercial trade of skin, fur, fangs and other products made from polar bears.

A similar proposal made in 2010 by the USA was voted against by both Russia and Norway. However, since then Russia has reversed its stance on polar bear conservation and is now highly vocal in support of its protection. Voting on this proposal, thought to happen later today or tomorrow, will be one of the key votes of the entire conference.

The USA and Russia argue that the trade in polar bear products is entirely unsustainable, calling on evidence that predicts a two-third decline in the polar bear population by the middle of this century.  However, the proposal has had a frosty welcome from Canada, which is home to approximately three-quarters of the world’s polar bear population.

Polar bears on the ice

Hunting and trade of polar bears will be illegal if the American-Russian proposal is accepted

Insufficient evidence

Canada, which is the only country to currently allow the export of polar bear products, argues against the evidence, claiming that it is “insufficient”. They state that Canadian Inuit communities rely on hunting and trading in polar bears to survive and that it is deeply embedded in their culture. The Canadian delegates also dispute the declared impact of melting ice on polar bears, labelling it as “uncertain”. These claims are puzzling as it is widely known that polar bears depend on sufficient ice cover to hunt seals.

If the American-Russian proposal is accepted, the Inuit people will still be able to hunt for polar bears, as stated in Canada’s domestic law. The restrictions will apply to exporting skins and other parts which will no longer be permitted under the new laws.

Polar bear jumping between ice floes

Polar bears rely on sea ice to be able to hunt for seals

Polar bear plight

 Despite polar bear hunting being prohibited in Russia, it is estimated that nearly 200 individuals are poached there every year. The pelt and other parts of these bears are sold with false Canadian documentation that allows them to enter the trade markets. If the proposed laws were to be passed, these certificates would become void, thereby putting an end to this problem.

As polar bears become rarer, the fear is that demand for their skins will increase and therefore they will become more valuable. This in turn drives the hunters who can fetch more for their catch, and the ugly cycle continues.

Only five countries are home to the polar bear: the USA, Canada, Norway, Russia and Greenland (represented by Denmark). With Russia and the USA on one side, and Canada and Greenland on the other, it would seem that the polar bear’s fate lies in the hands of the Norwegians who have yet to publicly announce their alliance.

 

Read more on this story at The Guardian – US and Russia unite in bid to strengthen protection for polar bear and The New York Times – U.S. and Russia team up in a bid polar bears.

View photos and videos of the polar bear on ARKive.

Read more about polar bears on our Polar Bear Day Blog.

Kaz Armour, ARKive Text Author

Feb 27
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Happy Polar Bear Day

Everybody loves polar bears – don’t they? Today is International Polar Bear Day, a chance for us all to celebrate this magnificent species and do our bit to help them.

Polar bears on thin ice

Polar bears might look big and tough but with their arctic habitat disappearing fast, the future of the world’s largest land carnivore is in our hands. Climate change is the biggest threat facing polar bears, as they depend on sea ice for hunting and breeding grounds and as the ice retreats, they must increasingly travel longer, more challenging distances across open water.

Polar bear moving over thin ice and swimming between ice floes

Video of polar bear moving over thin ice and swimming between ice floes

We can all play a part in reducing the threats to polar bears. Today, Polar Bear International is encouraging us all to do our bit to reduce our carbon footprint. You can take part in their challenge to turn your thermostat down (or up) a few degrees (depending on where you live), lowering your carbon emissions and helping  polar bears today and everyday .

Share your love for polar bears

We’re celebrating polar bear day across all our social channels – why not join in and help us to raise the profile of polar bears.

Get creative with our caption contest!

Can you think of a witty or fun caption for this polar bear photo?

Photo of  polar bear asleep in snow

Our polar bear-loving Twitter followers have already come up with these gems:

@Podgeosaurus

“Delilah was so relaxed during her Yoga session, she didn’t notice all the other girls had left for lunch already…”

@pasikas

Yeah Baby !!! thats reeelaxed

Can you do better? Tweet your captions, post them on Facebook or email us! We’ll choose and share our favourite tomorrow!

Support

Show your support for polar bears, by joining in with our campaign to become a polar bear for the day – simply add this polar bear badge to your Facebook and Twitter profiles.

Apr 25
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ARKive’s Creative Climate Change Challenge – the results!

Creative climate Change Challenge imageARKive’s Creative Climate Change Challenge was launched during Climate Week back in March. We asked you to get creative and through an exciting and engaging way, raise awareness about a species affected by climate change.

The creativity was outstanding – we received everything from papier mache penguins to clownfish cookies. The ARKive judges were taken on an emotional roller coaster – from the tear jerking tale of the table mountain ghost frog to the awe-inspiring sounds of a karaoke koala!

The judges were looking for entries which evoked an emotional response that would inspire people to do something to help combat climate change. The results are in and there were 3 entries that, in the judges’ minds, stood out above the rest. So, drum roll please……..

Winner of the 16-18 category

I bet your drum roll’s not as good as the drumming skills of these very worthy winners - the Antsiranana Boy Scouts group! The scouts wrote and performed a song about climate change and its effects on the hawksbill turtle, which nests on the beaches of Northern Madagascar where the boys live. The scouts conduct all their awareness raising activities in collaboration with Community Centred Conservation (C3).

The Antsiranana Boy Scouts say, “We will be performing this song in local rural communities, but hope that people all over the world will watch online and learn more about the effects of climate change on the fano hara (hawksbill turtle in Malagasy) and what can be done to help.”

Winner of the 12-15 category

The polar bear is the star of the show in this poetic piece of song-writing by 14 year–old Emmy, from the US. Download the polar bear song.

Photo of polar bear swimming

Winner of the under 11 category

And finally, the prize for the under 11 category goes to Marcus and Kalina from the the UK. Top marks for entertainment. Flying fish anyone?

 

Marcus and Kalina’s teacher, Tasha Waldman, believes that educating children about climate change helps to raise awareness of our planet, giving understanding and hope to future generations. Marcus comments “Global warming is important because it is changing our planet and we need to help animals who can’t change with it“. Kalina agrees saying, “Lots of animals are dying and it’s our fault. It’s not just minor, it’s a MAJOR problem“. Wise words from some of our youngest contestants.

Get involved

Why not share one of the Creative Climate Change Challenge winning entries, helping our worthy winners to get their voice and message about climate change heard around the globe.

You can also let us know what you’re doing to help combat climate change by entering your comments below or joining in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

Congratulations to all our winners and a big thank you to all who took part in ARKive’s Creative Climate Change Challenge.

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