The start of November can only mean one thing — it’s Polar Bear Week!
Up north in Churchill, Manitoba, polar bears are undertaking their annual migration to Hudson Bay, where sea ice is reforming after summer melts. After a long few months of fasting, the migration marks the bears’ return to their icy seal-hunting grounds where their favorite snacks are ringed and bearded seals. Polar Bear Week is specifically timed to coincide with this migration (meaning you’ll be distracted all week, watching the live polar bear cam!).
Join Ocean Conservancy in celebrating Polar Bear Week. We can’t think of a better way to start the week off right than by brushing up on your polar bear knowledge with these four furry factoids below.
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Polar Bears, ringed seals and beluga whales are seeing their home disappear. Protecting the Arctic Ocean would give them and all the animals who call the Arctic home a fighting chance.
In just two weeks, Secretary of State John Kerry is taking part in an Arctic Council meeting of leaders from every country with territory in the Arctic. The U.S. will take over as Chair of the Arctic Council that week.
He has already agreed that the Arctic Council should focus on protecting the Arctic Ocean. We need Secretary Kerry to keep his commitment and use the Arctic Council meeting to ensure that Arctic nations come together to conserve the Arctic Ocean.
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Yesterday, President Obama issued permanent protections from future oil and gas drilling for some of the Arctic Ocean’s most significant marine areas. The President’s action is an important and positive step to limit risky drilling, and will help protect the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, including vital walrus habitat at the Hanna Shoal.
At the same time, however, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issued a draft proposed program that calls for additional oil and gas lease sales in other areas of the Arctic, even though oil companies have not shown they are able to operate safely and responsibly in the Arctic. Extreme conditions like changing sea ice, fog, and high winds make meaningful cleanup all but impossible. A disaster like the Deepwater Horizon in the Arctic would devastate marine wildlife and jeopardize food security in Alaska Native communities.
Join us in sending a message to BOEM: No Arctic Ocean drilling.
Stand against reckless drilling in the Arctic Ocean. Tell BOEM not to sell Arctic oil and gas leases in the 2017-2022 program.
© Corbis. All rights reserved.
If we don’t act now, the U.S. government could open up more Arctic waters to exploratory drilling as soon as this summer!
This after the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) own report said there is a 75% — yes, 75% — chance of a large spill if companies like Shell are allowed to develop and produce in Arctic waters.
We can’t stand by and let that happen.
BOEM is holding a public comment period from now until December 23rd before making a critical decision about offshore drilling in the Arctic. They need to hear from you now.
Take action now: Tell the U.S. government to stop risky Arctic Ocean drilling.
With ever-changing sea ice, freezing temperatures, limited visibility, gale-force winds and no Coast Guard base for almost 1,000 miles, cleaning up a major oil spill in the Arctic would be incredibly difficult if not outright impossible.
Every year around Mother’s Day I’m reminded of how lucky I am to have both a mother and grandmother who have been there to guide me during the challenging times in life. Recently, this got me thinking that there are probably tons of examples of great mothers in the ocean who are similarly there for their children over the years. So whether you’re a mother yourself or you completely forgot it was that time of year and you need to rush to the store today, take a minute to celebrate Mother’s Day with us and read on to find out more about some awesome ocean mothers:
Manatee mothers show a tremendous dedication to their offspring that starts with nursing within a few hours of giving birth. Their calves are usually weaned within a year, but these mothers typically stick around for up to two years, and are often found right alongside their calves. Mother manatees actively block predators by swimming in between the calf and any potential threat. Furthermore, manatee mothers not only provide their children with nutrition, but also teach them about feeding areas and preferred travel routes.
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When you think of the Arctic, you probably think of a pristine area largely untouched by human hands. But even though few people get a chance to see the Arctic firsthand, that’s not stopping our trash from making the journey.
Plastic in the water is the last thing the Arctic needs right now. This past summer, Arctic sea ice melted to its smallest size in the history of satellite measurement. Each year, the amount of Arctic ice (or lack thereof) during summer months stirs up conversations about the health of Arctic ecosystems and potential implications for our global ocean. But Arctic ice is not the only barometer of ecosystem health; instead, we must also take a critical look at what’s below the icy water’s surface.
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Credit: Alaska FWS
Unlike some of my Ocean Conservancy colleagues, I’ve never traveled to the Arctic, never felt awe in the presence of marine animals like polar bears while working to protect them and their frozen haunts.
But I’ve read plenty of riveting accounts, and see spectacular photos and videos of polar bears languishing on the ice, or plunging into frigid seas to swim incredible distances. I’ve been drawn to the irresistible antics of their cuddly cubs, and awed by the terrible, beautiful power of one male charging another that dares move in on his mate.
I don’t need to visit the Arctic to support my conviction: The world needs polar bears. To me, it’s just a matter of faith. The planet would be bereft without these majestic icons. But we may be facing a world without them. What can we do? Continue reading »