Does the picture of an adorable polar bear warm your heart? Well in 40 years these amazing creatures could be extinct—if that doesn’t scare you it should. Now is the time to act. In honor of International Polar Bear Day, let’s do our part to save these animals.
Polar bears have been a protected species for many years, but their population is still decreasing. On the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) endangered species list, polar bears are currently registered as “vulnerable.” There are between 22,000 and 31,000 polar bears left. Polar bears are endangered due to numerous factors, but the loss of sea ice is the number one problem.
For polar bears, sea ice is their home away from home. The ice is important for their hunting and breeding needs. The ice also serves as rest stops in the middle of the ocean—without the ice, polar bears have trouble hunting in warmer months and must stay ashore longer. This can lead to malnutrition in polar bears and even starvation. Unfortunately, over the past 20 years, the sea ice has been decreasing, but that isn’t the only danger polar bears face. Industrial factors (such as oil spills and noise pollution) and illegal polar bear hunting are also hurting the population.
Today, February 27th, is International Polar Bear Day, which means it’s the perfect time to help save these magnificent creatures.
Listed below are three simple tips that can have a great impact
- Get your kids involved. Want to get your kids excited about conservation? Consider polar bear adoption. If you donate $35 to the World Wildlife Fund your kids can symbolically adopt a baby polar bear. In return for your donation, your kids will get a plush polar bear toy, an adoption certificate, and an information card on the species.
- Join an organization. Polar Bear International is an organization that uses media, science, and advocacy to inspire people to care about the Artic. Polar Bear International has a variety of programs and campaigns that you can join. You can become an ambassador or the lead of a fundraiser. For more information, check out this link.
- Help heal the planet. According to Dr. Steven C. Amstrup, chief scientist at Polar Bear International, the most important thing we can do to save the polar bears is “to stop the rise of greenhouse gases and stop the warming of the planet.” Fortunately, there are steps you can take in your own home to reduce the rise of greenhouse gases. Using energy-saving light bulbs, buying products from “green companies,” and turning down your thermostat and wearing a warm robe in the winter is a great start. To learn more check out this helpful guide from the National Park Service.