Tackling Climate Change to Save Polar Bears and Beyond
Polar bears, the largest of all the bear species, are completely dependent on arctic sea ice for survival. Without sea ice, polar bears are unable to hunt, breed, or raise their young. Alarmingly, the arctic sea ice that polar bears depend on is rapidly disappearing. The loss of sea ice, however, does not only mean the loss of polar bears; it could also have devastating consequences for the rest of the world. Sea ice is an important component of the earth’s climate regulation system, playing a major role in reflecting light and heat back into space. Without ice, the dark colored oceans absorb more heat, leading to increased temperatures. Polar Bears International (PBI) is an organization dedicated to saving polar bears through conservation research, education, and most
importantly, action to help reverse the trend in sea ice loss. The North Carolina Zoo has partnered with PBI to become an Arctic Ambassador Center. As an Arctic Ambassador Center we will educate zoo guests about climate change and how they can help by reducing their carbon footprint.
Every Effort Makes a Difference
While wild polar bears may live over 1,500 miles from North Carolina, conservation actions taken in North Carolina (and anywhere else in the world for that matter) can still have a dramatic impact on slowing the effects of climate change. As an Arctic Ambassador Center, the NC Zoo is providing our guests with programs and actions they can take which benefit polar bear conservation. Events held at the zoo include campaigns with local energy companies to create energy efficiency audit reports, yearly earth hour events, and reusable bag campaigns. The zoo has also supported keepers and educators to take part in PBI Leadership Camps, where participants have the opportunity to meet with conservation scientists from around the world, discuss ideas, and see polar bears in the wild. The NC Zoo is embarking on a plan with Duke Energy to promote NC Green Power, a program committed to connecting North Carolina residents to renewable energy sources. We are also continuing our Arctic Ambassador events to bring polar bear conservation issues to even more people in North Carolina. With these efforts and more, the NC Zoo is inspiring the people of North Carolina to take on the challenge of climate change to save polar bears.