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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

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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