© Daniel J. Cox/Natural Exposures
9/29/2017 7:00:33 PM
New Grants Fund Important Research
Scientists consider Western Hudson Bay polar bears one of the more vulnerable populations in Canada, with longer ice-free seasons impacting their long-term survival. Some studies have indicated that the distribution of these bears may be shifting due to changing sea ice patterns, though the extent of that shift is unknown, as are the consequences.
Teasing out what is going on has important implications for the management and conservation of both the Western Hudson Bay and neighboring Southern Hudson Bay bears—which is why we’re grateful for recent grants from the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund and the Point Defiance Zoo.
“Having the best possible information about polar bear population boundaries is critical for wildlife managers and decision-makers,” said Alysa McCall, director of conservation outreach and staff scientist at Polar Bears International. “The study will also add to our understanding of how polar bears are responding to rapid ecosystem change.”
The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund and the Point Defiance Zoo are offering grant support in different ways. SeaWorld’s $15,000 grant will directly support the study on distributional shifts in the Western Hudson Bay bears. The $14,240 grant from Point Defiance will fund the GPS ear tags used in tracking the movements of male polar bears on Western Hudson Bay, including the post-relocation movements of “problem bears” air-lifted away from the community—information that will help reduce human-polar bear conflicts and provide managers with critical data.
“Both SeaWorld and the Point Defiance Zoo are deeply committed to polar bear conservation,” said Janet Stringer, manager of donor relations at Polar Bears International. “We’re thankful for their support and dedication.”