The Plan: Protecting Large Areas of Wilderness
For decades we have been trying to save one endangered species at a time, yet with each passing year the number of species in danger grows. The time has come for a radical revolution in the way we protect nature, one that benefits all life on Earth. The loss of species is a symptom of larger ecological illness. The solution is not to focus on individual species, but rather to fix the source of illness and restore the environment to its proper balance.
The Need Close Up: Polar Bears
The Polar Bear is the perfect example of how a changing climate is hurting life. Polar Bears live and die by the ice covering the arctic. The bears wait at holes in the ice where they snatch seals that come up to breathe. As the ice grows and recedes with the seasons the availability of food also changes. In winter, when the ice has expanded the most, the bears feast at the numerous holes in the ice. In summer as the ice recedes, the airholes diminish, and the bears are forced to hunt in the open water.
As global temperatures rise, the ice no longer extends as far in winter, and shrinks faster in summer, drastically reducing the length of prime hunting season. Over the last 20 years, this time has decreased by 20 days causing the bears to weigh an average of 15% less than before (source: nwf.org). The lower weight has drastic consequences. Most of the food bears consume is converted to fat, helping them survive the long summers when food is scarce. Female Polar Bears won’t get pregnant if they don’t have enough fat stored up to make it through winter while nourishing their young. Less ice, and shorter hunting seasons makes it harder for the bears to successfully reproduce and maintain their populations.
The How: Bringing People Together
The Polar Bear is in danger, not from hunting or human encroachment, but the changing climate itself. They key to ensuring their continued survival is protecting the arctic sea ice, but we can’t do it alone.
WILD unites individuals, organizations, governments, and donors across the globe to protect large wilderness areas. By sharing knowledge and resources, we can take on bigger environmental challenges than any of us could alone. And we can win.
And through your support for WILD you are helping unite individuals and organizations to respect nature!