500 Polar Bears Need ‘Adopting’
The World Wildlife Fund in Russia is starting a polar bear adoption program for about 500 bears to raise money for conservation, research and their protection in the Russian Arctic region.
In the program a person or company that donates about $1,000 receives a certificate of appreciation and a polar bear statuette. Funds raised from the program will help protect polar bears from poachers in thirty different wild habitats. Several hundred polar bears are killed by poachers every year in the Russian Arctic.
“In the past year the number of reports about conflicts between humans and polar bears has almost tripled. Encounters between bears and humans can be deadly for humans, but more often the animal dies as a result,” said a Russian wildlife conservation coordinator for the WWF. (Source: en.ria.ru)
The total number of polar bears in the region is 5,000 – 6,000 and they are all threatened by the melting of sea ice due to climate change, in addition to the yearly damage caused by poachers and the accumulation of industrial toxins that wind up in their habitat due to wind currents carrying them from human population centers.
Of particular interest for polar bear conservation, is the Wrangel Island and Herald Island Preserve where 300-500 pregnant polar bears make their dens each year to give birth. This very important polar bear habitat is located off the coast of Russia about seventy miles in the Chukchi Sea. (From Alaska it is about 300 miles.) Without the constant replacing of poached bears in this “maternity hospital” as it has been called, the Russian Arctic polar bears would be in even more trouble than they currently are.
Image Credit: Alan Wilson/Wiki Commons