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Polar Bear Day Promotes Conservation

Leningrad Zoo has been a leader in polar bear breeding programs since the 1930s

Published: February 27, 2014 (Issue # 1799)



  • Uslada, seen here in a picture taken before the birth of her 16th cub.
    Photo: Leningrad Zoo

International Polar Bear Day, an awareness-raising event created by Polar Bear International, the worlds largest polar bear conservation group, to honor the might and majesty of one of Earths most iconic creatures, is being celebrated Feb. 27 this year.

The Leningrad Zoo, whose logo includes a polar bear, celebrated the day this past weekend, offering visitors an interactive exhibition and the opportunity to watch live feedings while children made toys for the popular bears.

Related: 40 Years On, Polar Bears and Threats to Their Habitat are Multiplying

Polar Bear International suggests a variety of ways to celebrate Polar Bear Day. The first and easiest thing is to turn the thermostat down by at least two degrees and try to make temperature reductions a habit. PBI also wants its supporters to take photos of themselves bundled up for polar bears in their now-colder homes and share them on the organizations website.

PBI hopes this will build support and inspire others to think about the problems these bears face in a warming Arctic environment. The ice that once covered the surface of the Arctic Ocean is rapidly melting and polar bears are finding it more and more difficult to hunt and breed. As a result, scientists predict they could become extinct within the next 40 years.

Our research shows that two-thirds of the worlds polar bears will be gone by the middle of the century unless we take action to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, said Dr. Steve Amstrup, PBIs chief scientist.

The Thermostat Challenge raises awareness of how our daily actions impact the polar bears sea ice habitat. By taking part in this initiative, we can lower our carbon emissions and show our commitment to action on climate change.

Related: Zoo Invites Locals to Name Bear Cub

Polar bears themselves are also being used to promote their own conservation. Siku, a polar bear born in a Scandinavian wildlife park two years ago and raised by zookeepers, is used as an ambassador for his less tame relatives living in the Arctic Circle and reminds people to reduce their carbon footprint and save energy.

Leningrad Zoo has been a leader in polar bear breeding programs since the 1930s. The polar bears there, Uslada and Menshikov, reproduce every two years. Their 16th cub was born in December 2013. Only Menshikov celebrated Polar Bear Day this year, however, while Uslada stayed in their den nursing a newborn cub.

Although the gender of the bear cub is still unknown, the zoo will hold a competition to determine the cubs name once its gender has been announced. According to the zoos predictions, Uslada and the cub will emerge from their den in May. At the moment, the zookeepers observe the bears in their den using a closed-circuit video feed.

The population of polar bears in Russia is estimated to be anywhere from 5,000 to 7,000 bears, approximately a quarter of all polar bears believed to be still alive in the world.





 

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although the Peter and Paul Fortress sand sculptures are more central and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today. The World Collection of Sand Sculptures that have been on display at the park reaches its final day, so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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