2/21/2013 9:09:00 PM

PBI Honors Wapusk National Park for Leadership in Polar Bear Conservation

Today Wapusk National Park, which means "white bear" in Cree, received PBI's highest honor, the Champion of Polar Bears award, in a ceremony at the Toronto Zoo.

The Honorable Peter Kent, Canada's minister of the environment, accepted the award from PBI's co-founders, Carolyn and Robert Buchanan, on behalf of the park.

PBI presented the award in recognition of Parks Canada's leadership and conservation work in Wapusk National Park, which protects significant polar bear habitat like denning areas in Manitoba, helping the Western Hudson Bay polar bear population survive. The award is a framed polar bear image by award-winning photographer Daniel J. Cox of Natural Exposures.

"For the past 15 years Parks Canada has played a worldwide role in polar bear conservation through research and monitoring, education, and conservation in Wapusk National Park," Carolyn Buchanan said in presenting the award. "The scientific data gathered and its analysis, along with the park's extensive educational programs, have allowed Canada's most iconic species to be better understood throughout the world."

In accepting the award, Kent said that Parks Canada was proud to be recognized for its work to conserve polar bears and their habitat in Wapusk National Park.

"Parks Canada's mandate is to protect and present Canada's natural and cultural heritage," he said, "and the conservation work in Wapusk National Park is a tremendous example of what Parks Canada does each and every day on behalf of Canadians at all of our parks and sites."

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