INTERNATIONAL POLAR BEAR DAY
Every year on February 27th, International Polar Bear Day raises awareness for the issues that polar bears face. It’s also a day to find ways to reduce our carbon footprint as a way to minimize the effects of global climate change.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has deemed the polar bear a vulnerable species. Sea ice loss due to climate change is the biggest threat to this animal’s survival. Currently, there are an estimated 26,000 polar bears in the world. They live in 19 different populations across the Arctic. About 60 percent of these populations are within or shared by Canada. Polar bears are also found in Alaska, Norway, Greenland, and Russia.
Due to living in such remote locations, polar bears are difficult to study. It is known that the number of polar bears throughout the world is not increasing. If sea ice continues to disappear, some believe polar bears could become extinct between 2050 and 2100. The disappearance of seals could also affect the polar bear population. This is due to the fact that seals, which also depend upon the ice, are the main food source for polar bears.
- Here are some more facts about polar bears:
- Hibernating polar bear moms go 8 months without a meal.
- Female polar bears start a new family about every 3 years.
- Polar bears can travel up to 19 miles a day for several days.
- Underneath all that thick translucent fur, polar bears have jet black skin.
One more fact about polar bears is that newborn polar bear cubs weigh just over 1 pound. By the time they are two years old, they weigh hundreds of pounds. An adult male polar bear weighs more than 1,700 pounds!
HOW TO OBSERVE #InternationalPolarBearDay
- On this day, Polar Bear International (PBI) raises funds to develop a new tool that finds and maps polar bear den locations. This tool helps to ensure that polar bear moms and cubs aren’t disturbed during hibernation.
- PBI also hosts live events, such as educational broadcasts and special film screenings.
- Donate to an organization that helps to protect polar bears and their natural habitats.
- Adopt a polar bear through the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
- Check out the PBI Polar Bear Tracker.
- Read a book about polar bears to your kids, such as Hush Little Polar Bear by Jeff Mack or Polar Bears by Mark Newman.
- Watch the documentary, Face to Face with the Polar Bear.
- Spread awareness for this day by posting a polar bear picture or video on social media with #InternationalPolarBearDay.
INTERNATIONAL POLAR BEAR DAY HISTORY
PBI created International Polar Bear Day in 2011. Part of their goal was to protect denning polar bear families across the Arctic. For this reason, PBI chose February 27th as it coincides with the time period that polar bear moms and cubs are snug in their dens. PBI is a nonprofit polar bear conservation organization. They have headquarters in Bozeman, Montana, and Churchill, Manitoba.