'I was on a razor's edge' by: Paul Souders - Hudson Bay, Churchill, Canada
It was the moment he had spent two cold, grueling, and solitary weeks waiting for. But when Paul Souders finally came face to face with a polar bear his patience paid off beautifully - as these stunning snaps show. The 51-year-old photographer managed to keep his cool to capture these incredible close-up images of a swimming polar bear. Standing in his 11-foot inflatable zodiac, Souders drifted up to the female bear he spotted roaming on the ice capped shores of Churchill, Canada.
He followed her as she paddled up the coast until she was relaxed enough to venture right up to his boat. Wildlife photographer Souders, from Seattle, USA, said: ‘It took her some time to settle down. I really felt like I had to earn her trust. ’I didn’t feel threatened, but I knew that I was on a razor’s edge - I had no margin for error.’I watched her reaction very closely looking for any sign of aggression.’
These costumed polar bears have been traveling the country to highlight the relationship between climate change and proposed Arctic drilling. Yesterday, they let loose in DC, and some fun happened. They’d rather be in the Arctic, but they’ll make do here.
"it’s a fact that early sea ice breakup, late ice freeze-up and the overall reduction in ice pack could erase half of a population in a single year." - university of alberta professor andrew derocher, co author “rapid ecosystem change and polar bear conservation.”
Alaska’s polar bears are going without food for longer and longer due to rising temperatures and rapid Arctic ice melt. Obama’s recent plan to address climate change offers hope, but billionaire Big Polluters are trying to block the Environmental Protection Agency from setting carbon pollution limits. Polar bears can’t keep waiting!
Polar Bears jostle each other at the St-Felicien Wildlife Zoo in St-Felicien, Quebec, on October 31, 2011. According to Environment Canada, Canada is home to around 15,000 of the estimated 20,000 polar bears in the world. The U.S. (Alaska), Russia, Denmark (Greenland) and Norway are the other four countries where polar bears can be found.
While these bears do live in captivity, it can be argued they might have a better life than their wild brethren, who, thanks to climate change, are being forced to move due to melting ice. As sea ice decreases, the bears swim farther to find suitable habitats, and food is harder to come by.
CITES voted against protecting polar bears on an international level, here’s a story from a couple of days ago (3/5/13), in the Guardian UK, telling you why they should have…
US and Russia unite in bid to strengthen protection for polar bears
Proposal to ban international commercial trade in polar bear products sets up showdown with Canada over key Cites vote
by Damien Carrington
A fight to protect polar bears from Arctic hunters has led cold war foes the US and Russia to unite against Canada ahead of a key international vote this week.
The bitter row is over the 600 or so of the polar species killed each year by Canadian hunters, most of which are exported as bear skin rugs, fangs or paws. Diplomatic relations became even frostier on Tuesday, when the European Union attempted to block the US proposal to outlaw the export trade, which is strongly supported by Russia.
Canada, home to about three-quarters of the world’s 20,000-25,000 remaining polar bears, is the only country that allows the export of polar bear products. Its delegates argue there is “insufficient scientific evidence” that polar bear populations will decline by more than half in the coming decades and that trade is “not detrimental to the species”. They say hunting and trading in polar bears is “integrally linked” with Inuit subsistence and culture…
The United States has published a Federal Register Notice announcing the availability of tentative U.S. positions on the species proposals, draft resolutions and decisions submitted by other countries and the CITES Secretariat for consideration at CoP16 (the convention to discuss protection of threatened and endangered species).
This polar bear was spotted in the Arctic and estimated to be 6-7 feet long, weighing in at more than 400 pounds!
During the 2012 Russian-American Long-term Census of the Arctic cruise, scientists documented marine mammals along the Chukotka coast of Russia. The Bering and Chukchi Seas and associated marine life are thought to be particularly sensitive to global climate change.
Documenting the distribution and migration patterns of the life in these seas are critical pieces of information needed to better understand the causes and consequences of the reduction of ice cover in the northern part of the Bering and Chukchi Seas in the Arctic Ocean.
Countdown to CoP16: CoP16 is less than a week away!
(the international conference of CITES to protect threatened and endangered animals)
The United States has put forward a proposal to include polar bears in CITES Appendix I. Habitat loss, coupled with the threats of commercial trade, pollution, and disease, paints a bleak picture for the future of polar bears. If passed, the listing would restrict trade for commercial purposes, eliminating one of the threats to polar bears, and giving this iconic species a better chance for survival.
SCIENTISTS EXPLORE OPTIONS AS POLAR BEARS FACE CLIMATE CHANGE
By Andrew Revkin, The New York Times:
The surge of hunting that depleted many polar bear populations in the 20th century is largely under control. But just as the species has been recovering from that threat, global warming is creating new pressures through the loss of summer sea ice and other impacts on the bears’ preferred maritime habitat.
But a new policy paper in Conservation Letters, “Rapid ecosystem change and polar bear conservation,” proposes a series of steps that could kick in a lot sooner — including everything from relocation programs to feeding of starving bears or in some cases “intentional population reduction” — a k a culling. There’s a solid look at the paper in Yale Environment 360…