Polar Bear Patrols begin working in the Russian Arctic

Polar Bear Patrols begin working in the Russian Arctic

29 March 2011

Polar Bear Patrols are already well established in the Russian Arctic. This year they began working on March 20, and their work to protect polar bears will continue until late April.


The time frame for the work was chosen deliberately because during this period (late March-early April) the female polar bears take their cubs out of their dens, and this attracts poachers.


Environmental scientists and volunteers will follow the migration of bears and their cubs, and will also undertake an environmental awareness raising programme for the locals. They will follow the polar bears all along the Arctic coast.


Similar campaigns have proven that this kind of patrolling produces positive results. Scientists from Canada, the United States, Denmark and Greenland intend to adopt the Russian practices in this field that have been successful.


Scientists believe that such campaigns are necessary. The polar bears' habitat has changed dramatically in recent years. The Arctic ice has been melting, and this diminishes the bears' habitat range and their food sources (seals). Global warming, oil pollution in the Arctic, and slaughter by poachers have significantly reduced the number of polar bears.


And the large scale on which poachers kill the bears – by pursuing the animals in helicopters and shooting them, for example – only worsens the overall situation.