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Polar bear’s death raises questions about sustainable tourism in the Arctic

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The western settlement of Longyearbyen, with a population of roughly 2,000, is the area’s main tourism hub. Currently it’s high-season, which means thousands of international tourists hungering for a glimpse of the Arctic’s natural splendor cruise on both small and large ships, occasionally disembarking for land excursions on remote islands.

On Sunday, 12 crew members from the German ship MS Bremen landed on the northern-most island of the archipelago to prepare for an on-shore excursion with passengers, according to a statement by the Svalbard governor’s office. A 42-year-old crew member was attacked by a polar bear, which was then shot and killed in what the crew member said was an act of self-defense.

The incident is being investigated by authorities, although it is possible that the crew had happened upon a starving bear.

“When you have more people coming to the same area in which the polar bears and other arctic animals live, the risk of conflict and disturbance increases — it’s more of a mathematical law,” said Morten Wedege, head of environmental protection for the governor of Svalbard. “Our challenge is to inform and educate and guide people to know how to behave in the high arctic.”

The incident sheds light on the challenges of tourism growth in the area.

Read the full article here.

By Sarah Hucal for ABC News 

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(Credit: World Wildlife Day – The poster was created by Jerry LoFaro, Mohammed Elnour and Patrick George)

 

This year’s World Wildlife Day on March 3 is the purr-fect opportunity to show your love for big cats – the endangered predators fighting to survive in Africa, Asia, and North, Central and South America. These majestic creatures are at risk be-claws of many and varied threats, that are mostly caused by human activities. Big cats include not only lions, tigers, leopards and jaguars – the four largest wild cats that can roar – but also cheetahs, snow leopards, pumas, and clouded leopards.

UN World Wildlife Day celebrates and raises awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants – this day was proclaimed in 2013 as the day of signature the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Please paws for a moment and spend some time to learn about these charismatic and admired animals across the globe. Purr-haps, you would like to participate in an event taking place in your country.

The official World Wildlife Day websites shares furry cool and creatives ideas on how to get involved, or choose one of our favourite ideas:

  1. Bring the World Wildlife Day to your office talk to your co-workers about the day during lunch time. Speak up and share your knowledge, passion and questions about wildlife conservation with your co-workers, friends, family and community – either in person or online. For inspiration on spreading the word via social media, have a look at this social media kit.
  2. Use your talent to show your support in the conservation of big cats and inspire the world. For example, check out the amazing sand art created by an Indian sand artist for last year’s World Wildlife Day. Your own creativity is the only limit!
  3. Watch and share the official outreach video for World Wildlife Day 2018 or hold a screening of wildlife films. Check out this page, if you are interested in hosting the screening of the winning film of this year’s International Big Cats Film Festival.

It’s time to take cat-ion and help the un-fur-tunate predators meow!

#WorldWildlifeDay #BigCats #PredatorsUnderThreat #WWD2018 #DoOneThingToday #iProtectBigCats

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