Aurora Expeditions is passionate about conserving the world’s threatened wildlife. That’s why we want to raise awareness about the threats facing polar bears this February 27, which is International Polar Bear Day. The polar bear is the world’s largest land carnivore and inhabits some of our planet’s most extreme areas — this marvellous creature calls the Arctic regions of Europe, Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Russia home.
There are currently between 22,000 and 31,000 polar bears roaming these areas, notes the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), but these numbers are likely to decrease significantly in the coming years. This is why International Polar Bear Day is so vital to our efforts to conserve these animals. Let’s take a look at what we’re doing — and, more importantly, what you can do — to address this crucial issue.
What is International Polar Bear Day?
International Polar Bear Day aims to raise awareness of the plight facing polar bears and educate the general public about what we can do to prevent their diminishing numbers.
In previous decades, hunting was the main cause of the depletion of the polar bear population. Capturing and killing the animals was outlawed by the 1973 Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears, but this has not prevented their numbers from dwindling.
The cause of this is the melting of the Arctic ice caps. Sea ice is vital to the hunting tactics of polar bears, and without it they are forced to swim greater distances to obtain food for themselves and their cubs. If action is not taken soon, the IUCN predicts that by 2050, the world’s polar bear population will have decreased by 30 per cent.
Read more: Wildlife Fact File: Polar Bear
How can you get involved?
Every little action counts. You can get involved in International Polar Bear Day activities, such as the Thermostat Challenge or the Pedal for Polar Bears Challenge, which are designed to show us how we can reduce our carbon emissions. To donate to Polar Bears International, click below and support critical research and education for polar bear conservation.
Another way of taking action is by journeying to the Arctic yourself and learning more about its environment and the wildlife that lives there. Aurora Expeditions offers small group trips to the European Arctic aboard our vessel Polar Pioneer.
Due to their dwindling numbers, it’s not guaranteed you will spot a polar bear. Even if you aren’t lucky enough to see one of these creatures in their natural habitat, you’ll still gain a thorough understanding of their way of life — our experts on board will tell you more about the predicament facing the Arctic regions and the wildlife that call them home.
Read more: A brief destination guide to Spitsbergen
How does Aurora Expeditions support the plight of polar bears in the wild?
Travelling with Aurora Expeditions in the European Arctic is unique. We seek to give our passengers an intimate and educational experience on board our vessels. Our team of experts will introduce you to the Arctic region, always remaining conscious of our environmental footprint and respecting the Arctic wildlife.
As a passenger with us, you’ll be fully briefed on Arctic environmental guidelines and taught how to minimise the impact you have on the Arctic environment.
We are a leader in responsible tourism, with a firm philosophy that exploration is about more than seeing sights; it’s about understanding a place in all its aspects. Understanding fosters awareness, and hopefully, like so many of our former travellers, you’ll be so impacted by your adventure with us that you’ll want to become ambassadors for the Arctic and its polar bears too.