Research expedition leads to call for Artic Treaty

Polar Bears are the first animal to become endagered due to climate change

Polar Bears are the first animal to become endagered due to climate change

By Elinor McClarence

12 polar bears have been sighted during an expedition to the ‘Polar Bear Pass’ in the remote Canadian High Arctic.

The Polar Conservation Organisation (PCO) participated in the two week trip last month to assess the effects of climate change on the highly inaccessible region and its inhabitants.

There they attempted to count the bears, a species thought to be at risk of becoming endangered as a result of climate change.

The non profit organisation also monitored other animals, such as the Arctic fox, and the native bird species that are believed to be at risk due to the changing climate.

The PCO was invited to join the expedition by the Norwegian Polar Institute. The team were led by Jim McNeill and accompanied by the BAFTA award winning cameraman Ian McCarthy.

The founder of the PCO, Brendon Grunewald, has been researching conservation for over 15 years and has previously carried out several expeditions to the Antarctic and Arctic. He said: “Our invitation to join this expedition was a recognition of the fact that we are a serious organisation that has an important role to play in the polar conservation debate.”

The PCO focuses on improving public, industry and political knowledge of the damage caused by climate change to the polar regions. They are aiming to build a government framework for the Arctic to achieve a sustainable and workable policy on the polar regions. They hope to use the research carried out by the expedition to help to form an Arctic equivalent to the Antarctic Treaty.

Part of the mission was to communicate with indigenous people and to discover the issues that they are facing. Grunewald said: “This has been an extremely valuable experience. It has underlined the need to balance the needs and rights of indigenous peoples in the region with broad global conservation trends.”

“We need support to enable the PCO to expand its first hand knowledge and experience in the polar regions,” said Grunewald. “We can then put this knowledge to good use by sharing it through our educational programmes and website. All this is vital for our ambitions to raise awareness and act as a catalyst for the creation of an international framework agreement for the polar regions.”

You can view uploaded images of Polar Bears and blogs of the white wilderness on the PCO website.


~ by thenewspark on June 20, 2009.

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