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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.





 


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Sunday, Apr. 20


Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianitys holiest day.


Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the deserts most iconic plant.


Monday, Apr. 21


Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDAs Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.


Tuesday, Apr. 22


SPIBAs Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.


The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.