Polar Bears and Monty the Penguin Indicate the Plight of the Planet; by the Mid-21st Century, Two-Thirds of the World's Polar Bear Population May Vanish, Due to the Rapid Loss of Sea Ice, as a Result of Climate Change. Rod Downie, Head of WWF-UK's Polar Programme, Explains How the Charity Is Working to Protect the Precious Polar Regions and Their Inhabitants

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), December 23, 2014 | Go to article overview

Polar Bears and Monty the Penguin Indicate the Plight of the Planet; by the Mid-21st Century, Two-Thirds of the World's Polar Bear Population May Vanish, Due to the Rapid Loss of Sea Ice, as a Result of Climate Change. Rod Downie, Head of WWF-UK's Polar Programme, Explains How the Charity Is Working to Protect the Precious Polar Regions and Their Inhabitants


When you're at the ends of the Earth, there's nowhere else to go.

In both the Arctic and Antarctic, WWF is working to show how climate change is putting the animals that inhabit this amazing landscape at risk.

The Arctic is ocean surrounded by land.

The Antarctic is land surrounded by ocean.

Both are among the largest remaining intact wilderness regions on our planet - where wild animals are free to roam in their natural habitat.

THE ANTARCTIC - PROTECTING THE PENGUINS Many of you will have seen the John Lewis Christmas advert which introduced Monty the penguin to our screens and to our hearts.

With more than 23 million views of the advert online, it's safe to say that Monty has become a very popular character among the British public.

We've come together with John Lewis to raise awareness and money for the work we are doing in Antarctica, to help protect the home of the real-life Monty and Mabel.

Adelie penguins are one of the smallest and most widely found penguins in the Antarctic.

You can tell them apart from other penguins by their simple black-andwhite marking and the distinct white ring around their eyes.

Thanks to the awareness raised by the partnership, we can do a lot more to protect the Adelie penguins' home.

We're calling for large-scale marine protected areas to safeguard Antarctica's wildlife - and we're helping to reducing illegal fishing practices and ensure that existing fishing is sustainable.

We're also raising awareness of the threats we all face from climate change.

The power of partnering with one of the biggest retailers in the UK means that we, too, can bring to life the struggles these species face in Antarctica.

THE ARCTIC - DECREASING SEA ICE LEAVES POLAR BEARS AT A CROSSROADS Arctic sea ice is reported to have reached its 2014 minimum on September 17, before the onset of the winter freeze.

At 5.02 million sq km (1.94 million square miles), it is the sixth lowest on satellite record, demonstrating the continued downward trend in Arctic sea ice.

Even taking the current growth in Antarctic sea ice into account, our planet has lost approximately 3 million sq km of sea ice over 35 years, which is roughly the size of India.

Scientific forecasts predict continued loss, with the possibility that the Arctic Ocean could be virtually icefree in the summer within a generation.

The whole Arctic sea ice ecosystem is at risk as this trend continues, affecting local people's livelihoods. Negative impacts, including the increased frequency of extreme weather as a result of the loss of sea ice, are predicted far beyond the Arctic - including here in Wales and the UK. This also leaves the polar bear, icon of the Arctic and an indicator of the health of the ecosystem, at a significant crossroads.

One analysis predicts that, by the mid-21st century, two-thirds of the world's polar bear population may vanish due to the rapid loss of the sea ice that they depend upon - a direct result of human-induced climate warming.

But there is reason for hope. …

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Polar Bears and Monty the Penguin Indicate the Plight of the Planet; by the Mid-21st Century, Two-Thirds of the World's Polar Bear Population May Vanish, Due to the Rapid Loss of Sea Ice, as a Result of Climate Change. Rod Downie, Head of WWF-UK's Polar Programme, Explains How the Charity Is Working to Protect the Precious Polar Regions and Their Inhabitants
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