King of the Arctic celebrates on 27 February

King of the Arctic celebrates on 27 February

27 February 2015

Today is International Polar Bear Day, established by Polar Bears International to draw public attention to polar bear conservation.


The polar bear is a symbol of the Arctic and one of the most charismatic species of the animal kingdom. In the past decades, global climate changes, reduction of the ice cover in the Arctic seas, and increasing economic development of the coast and the shelf in this part of the planet have been adversely affecting the predator.


This day is primarily important for the five countries that the polar bear inhabits: Russia, Norway, Canada, Greenland and the United States.


“Russia has always been at the forefront of polar bear preservation,” said Andrei Boltunov, Deputy Chairman of the Council for Sea Mammals and a member of the specialist group for polar bears of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. “Our country was the first to impose a ban on all polar bear hunting in its part of the Arctic in 1957. In the past years, thanks to the active stance of the state, public organisations and research community in our country, an increasing number of quality research projects has focused on conservation of the polar bear in the rapidly changing environment. Special significance is placed on the constructive and responsible actions of companies exploring hydrocarbon deposits in the polar bear’s habitat.”


“International Polar Bear Day raises awareness about the animal’s conservation in the modern world,” stressed Dr Nikita Ovsyanikov, an independent expert, a polar bear specialist and an honorary North Pole explorer. “The polar bear is indeed endangered. It is affected by both environmental changes and the progressive growth of human impact. Amid its survival struggle, this species is constantly threatened by hunters. North American indigenous peoples continue hunting it for commercial and political reasons. Unless there are changes in policy, the extermination of the polar bear will continue until it is extinct, which would be the largest environmental crime of the 21st century. International Polar Bear Day is a time to think about how humankind, despite considering itself educated and intelligent, continues being irresponsible when it comes to nature.”