International Polar Bear Day: what’s it all about?

Wednesday, 5th February 2020

Emma Mitra

spitsbergen polar bear and cubs db

Catching a glimpse of a polar bear is always a highlight of Discover the World’s trips to the Arctic. As climate change continues to threaten these beautiful creatures, we’re supporting International Polar Bear Day on 27th February. Find out more about this important conservation event and what you can do to get involved.

International Polar Bear Day, the annual event from charity Polar Bears International, aims to highlight the challenges that the species is facing in an increasingly warm Arctic. Sea ice loss from climate change is, the charity explains, the single biggest threat to polar bears because the creatures rely on sea ice to access their prey.

In the year that’s passed since the last event, more people have had their eyes opened to the catastrophic effects of climate change than ever before. It’s hoped that International Polar Bear Day 2020 will be the most prolific yet – and the polar bears’ cause certainly needs as much support behind it as possible.

The figures are stark. Wildlife charity WWF predicts that by 2040, summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean will be gone. Only one ice area will remain, over in northeast Canada and northern Greenland, which will be vital for sustaining ice-dependent life. By 2050, meanwhile, the polar bear population is on track to have declined by 30%.

arctic spitsbergen polar bear

How you can help

Polar Bears International believes that everyone can take action to reduce carbon emissions, no matter how small that action may seem.

Renowned climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe talks about “Simple solutions we implement in our own lives, our homes, our communities and our organizations. 

We know they won’t make a dent in the global carbon budget, but they sure as heck can make a dent in our own consciousness […] and give us the hope we need to make a difference in this world, as well as giving us the oomph we need to chivvy and encourage our elected leaders to do their job.”

The charity also has a fantastic range of community action toolkits – great to use at home with your kids or for school projects.

If you’ve been lucky enough to see a polar bear on your travels, share your photos and stories on social media to inspire and educate with #InternationalPolarBearDay, #PolarBearDay, #PolarBearsInternational and #SaveOurSeaIce.

canada manitoba polar bear ice bca

What we’re doing to help

We believe that responsible tourism to the Arctic can help to raise awareness of the issues facing our planet. We’re also conscious of the carbon footprint that tours leave behind.

That’s why we choose our tour partners carefully, using those who reflect our belief in conservation through education. Our small ship Arctic cruises use bio-degradable paints, LED lighting, steam heat, and flexible power management systems to keep fuel consumption and CO2 emission at the absolute minimum.

Here’s a bit more about our commitment to responsible travel.

svalbard billefjorden polar bear and cubs vn

Find out more about International Polar Bear Day

Head to the Polar Bears International website to find out more about International Polar Bear Day, details of special talks with experts on social media to mark the day, and how you can make a donation to the charity.

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