Grid of 9 photos highlighting conservation wins in 2019

12/28/2019 4:21:18 PM

Top Conservation Highlights from 2019

As we count down to the end of the year, we wanted to share 9 highlights from 2019 that show how your donations are making a difference. Here are the top 9 conservation wins that you made possible for polar bears:

  1. Research in Russia - Russia has long been a big blank spot in polar bear research, with little known about these bears. Your generosity helped fund a season of collaborative study on Russia’s Wrangel Island led by Dr. Eric Regehr of the University of Washington. Our senior director of conservation, Geoff York, took part in field work for the project this fall, in partnership with Dr. Regehr and colleagues from the Wrangel Island State Nature Reserve and the All-Russian Research Institute for Environment Protection. Learn more

  2. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - When the White House pushed to open this Alaskan wilderness area to oil and gas development, our chief scientist, Dr. Steven Amstrup, prepared a detailed scientific report on the risks posed to denning polar bear families as part of an effort with the Sierra Club. He also testified before Congress; published an op-ed in The Hill; and shared his expertise with reporters. The good news: seismic testing will not go forward this winter as originally planned. We will continue to work on this issue in 2020. Watch Dr. Amstrup’s testimony

  3. New Interpretive Center – Thanks to your support, we were excited to welcome more than 2,000 people to Polar Bears International House, our new center in Churchill, Canada, this fall. Located on the main street of town, PBI House allows us to engage with visitors, sharing information on polar bears, sea ice loss, and how each of us can help. The building also provides staff housing, serves as a base of operations for our Churchill projects, and functions as a meeting place for locals and visitors. Discover more 
  4. Tundra Connections Outreach - Every year during the fall polar bear migration near Churchill, Manitoba, you make it possible for us to conduct live chats and webcasts from the tundra, connecting scientists and other experts with people around the world. Working with partners including the Discovery Education Network, TakingITGlobal, and Connected North, we engaged with thousands of classrooms in 2019—and our polar bear content reached millions of viewers. See more

  5. Better Tracking Devices - Your generosity allows us to explore cutting-edge research methods—like our “Burr on Fur” project. 3M design engineers are helping us find a way to temporarily attach a small tracking device to a polar bear’s fur—one able to withstand sub-zero temperatures, snow, saltwater, and other challenges. If successful, the devices will provide a minimally invasive way to study movement patterns and other activities of wild polar bears, giving us insights into their needs, health, and status. Learn more

  6. Svalbard Den Studies - Thanks to you, we were able to continue our long-term study of polar bear maternal den sites in Svalbard. This project relies on remote cameras to record the behavior and condition of polar bear moms and cubs from the time they emerge from their dens until they depart for the sea ice. The information gained will help set guidelines to prevent disturbances. Our partners include the Norwegian Polar Institute and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. Discover more

  7. Arctic Inspiration – When people fall in love with polar bears, they’re inspired to get involved with their conservation. Our live Polar Bear Cams in partnership with, Frontiers North Adventures, and Parks Canada, provide people around the world with a window into the annual gathering of polar bears on the shores of Hudson Bay. In addition, we share Arctic inspiration through our social media outreach, website, photographs, videos, publications, Beluga and Northern Lights cams, and live broadcasts. Watch the cams

  8. Reducing Conflict with People - As the sea ice retreats in the Arctic, more polar bears are spending more time onshore in more places, leading to increased conflicts with people. Your support helps fund projects to keep polar bears and people safe. These include a project to test whether a compact radar system could detect a polar bear as it approaches a community. If successful, the system could help prevent deaths or injuries to polar bears and people across the Arctic. We also work with partners to share best practices for avoiding attacks. Learn more

  9. Climate Talks in Spain - Christopher J. Carter, our representative at COP25, spoke up for polar bears and all of us during the December summit. Unfortunately, delegates put off important work related to the Paris Agreement and fell far short of where we need to be in national ambitions, in large part due to U.S. obstruction. Still, Carter found rays of hope in bold commitments from the 27 nations of the European Commission and the power of the people—united as one inside climate negotiations and on the street. Given the power of the youth movement and growing public concern about the climate crisis, we will focus on “voting for polar bears, voting for climate” in 2020 and beyond. Discover more

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