Hundreds of WWF supporters from across the UK have joined forces to create an incredible piece of live art to raise awareness of the desperate plight facing polar bears in the Arctic, as new research reveals the imminent threat to their habitat continues to be vastly underestimated.
The artwork was released alongside a new survey commissioned for Arctic Home, as over two-thirds (67%) of those polled in the UK said it would take longer than 100 years for all the ice to melt in the Arctic. However recent scientific research has stated this could happen as early as the middle of this century, and therefore stresses the need for more urgent support and awareness to be generated for the issue amongst the British public.
The findings are announced as Coca-Cola and WWF partner for the second year to launch Arctic Home, a joint initiative to raise awareness and funds to help protect the home of the polar bear, so polar bear mums continue to have a safe place to give birth and raise their cubs.
To mark the launch, people from across the country took part in the astounding live art display that brought to life a stunning image of a polar bear mother and her young cub. The large-scale, aerial image celebrates the second year of the Arctic Home campaign and aims to increase understanding about the current difficulties faced by polar bear families as a result of the melting sea ice and climate change in the Arctic.
Arctic Home is now calling for people to visit www.arctichome.co.uk to learn more about the struggle faced by polar bear families, share their support and make a donation. This year across Europe Coca-Cola will match all donations made to the campaign up to up to €1million.
The Arctic Home partnership was first launched in 2013 as Coca-Cola committed €1 million to help support essential research into the Last Ice Area, an area of over 1.4sq km in the Arctic. The sum also assisted with developing plans to map critical polar bear habitats and improve conservation planning.
The partnership has also helped to fund the 2013 International Polar Bear Conservation Forum – a summit which brought together government representatives from the five polar bear range states, Canada, Russia, Norway, Denmark and the US to agree how best to protect the future of the polar bear in the face of an ever diminishing habitat and new threats. The five states committed to a list of actions designed to help conserve the global population of polar bears
This year the campaign focuses on the plight facing polar bear mothers in the Arctic. The instinct to protect your children is one of the strongest driving forces on earth and the desire to care, protect and create a safe place to raise our families is something all parents share, whether human or a member of the animal kingdom. However, the rapidly changing conditions in the Arctic are making that simple desire more and more difficult to achieve for the hundreds of female polar bears that give birth every year.
Polar bears give birth in snow caves called maternity dens. These dens, built on land or on the ice, are essential to ensuring that a polar bear mum is able to successfully raise her cubs, which are born blind and hairless and completely dependent on their mum for food and warmth.
As a result of climate change, sea ice is now forming later in the Autumn, resulting in pregnant bears being faced with new and difficult choices, such as being forced to swim vast distances to reach land, or to explore unknown territories in order to find a suitable denning site.
Disclosure: I was invited to an event but unable to attend, but I wanted to share this campaign with you