Happy International Polar Bear Day!

International polar bear day is celebrated around the world on February 27, so keep an eye on the upcoming events by following https://polarbearsinternational.org/act-now/awareness-events/international-polar-bear-day as well as support polar bear conservation via https://polarbearsinternational.org/act-now/.

https://wwf.ca/stories/polar-bears-canada/

The Importance of Polar Bears in Canada

Polar bears not only constitute a significant proportion of Canada’s biodiversity, but they are also culturally significant to Canada’s Indigenous Peoples. Maintaining a connection with natural resources is essential to the cultural, psychological and physical health of Northern Indigenous communities. Traditional activities such as arctic fishing, stamping, caribou and polar bear hunting help achieve this goal. Community wildlife management, wildlife product sharing, conservation hunting and the fur trade are all essential aspects of their cultural identity and community cohesion.

Polar Bears as a Symbol of Climate Change

Polar bears depend on sea ice for hunting, breeding, roaming, and sometimes nesting. But the Arctic is warming and the ice is melting due to human-caused global climate change. Currently, parts of the Arctic are experiencing longer ice-free seasons and longer periods of fasting, leading to a decline in bear populations. A key to climate recovery is the complete elimination of fossil fuels for energy production. Climate-related needs to protect polar bears should include identifying and protecting the “last ice sheet,” the part of the Arctic that is expected to retain the furthest sea ice for extended periods of time. It is also imperative to extend monitoring of polar bear populaces, especially their reactions to declining ocean ice. Fortunately, the University of Alberta contributed to a collaring program (GPS tracking) of up to ten female polar bears in the western Hudson Bay area. Tracking data has allowed for a greater understanding of polar bear movements, especially as the ice recedes. Recent data from fall 2021 shows freezing times in the Hudson Bay delayed by about two to three weeks, with the average freeze period around early November. Therefore, although this improvement is subtle, it suggests that targeted action can combat climate change. 

Canada’s Action for Polar Bears

In 2011, the polar bear was recorded as a Species of Special Concern in the Federal Species at Risk Act (SARA), which is intended to safeguard wildlife in Canada. A Special Concern assignment is utilized for species that might become compromised or threatened due to a mix of organic models and recognized dangers, therefore warranting the improvement of a Management Plan. The polar bear is likewise recorded as being in danger under common/regional regulations in Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Northwest Territories, and different administration plans or recuperation systems are either set up or a work in progress in these jurisdictions. 

  • In Manitoba, polar bears have been safeguarded under the commonplace Endangered Species Act since 2008, and the hunting or catching of bears isn’t allowed.
  • In Ontario, the polar bear has been safeguarded under the area’s Endangered Species Act beginning around 2009. Only  First Nations who are Treaty 9 members living along the Hudson Bay and James Bay Coast can harvest polar bears. There is a passable restriction of approximately 30 bears each year.
  • In Québec, the polar bear has been recorded as Vulnérable under the Loi sur les Espèces Menacées ou Vulnérable beginning around 2009. The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (1975) guarantees that polar bear harvests are restricted to indigenous peoples and are licensed by elites to guarantee yield levels of 62  or less per year in accordance with sustainable usage standards. 
  • In Newfoundland and Labrador, polar bears have been designated as endangered under the Endangered Species Act since around 2002. The Labrador Inuit has the selective privilege to collect six bears (male and female without offsprings) annually within the framework of the Labrador coastal crowd.
  • In the Northwest Territories, the declining polar bear populations were recorded as a type of Special Concern in 2014 and an administration plan has been developed.

Significant progress has been made from all the above-mentioned jurisdictions and can be accessed using https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/species-risk-public-registry/report-progress-recovery-document/polar-bear-december-2021.html

Climate change may appear to be a major challenge that no single person can solve. However, there are numerous basic things we can all do to help prevent climate change, such as eating less meat, walking, cycling, buying local products, and voting for leaders who are ecologically conscious. You can motivate yourself to help polar bears by connecting with other people and organizations dedicated to environmental conservation. But at the heart of all of this work is the recognition that the polar bear’s fate is identical to mankind’s ultimate fate, if nothing is done to reduce humanity’s impact on the planet.

                                                                                                                               Enjoy the day! 

                                                                                                               Written By: Simi Sara Benny                              

Sources

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