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Polar Bear Listed As Species of Special Concern

Thanks in large part to letters you sent, the federal government has officially declared the Polar Bear a species of special concern under the Species at Risk Act. 

Nearly 63,000 Nature Canada supporters asked the federal government to take action for polar bears. You asked for these three things:

  • List the polar bear in law,
  • Complete the required management plan ahead of the three-year legal deadline and
  • Take action on climate change to protect polar bear habitat

Today, Nature Canada supports the government’s decision to recognize the perilous condition of Canada’s Polar Bear population by listing it under the Species at Risk Act (SARA).

The listing in law officially recognises the at-risk status which the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has assigned to the polar bear since 1991. This important milestone means that, by law, a plan must be devised within three years to prevent the species from becoming endangered or threatened.

During the public comment period for the proposal to list the Polar Bear as a species of special concern, 99% of the comments received by the government supported the proposal. The vast majority of comments called for official designation under SARA and fast action on climate change.

The message was clear: listing the polar bear, coupled with action on climate change, are necessary to save one of Canada’s most iconic species.

With nearly 15,000 polar bears, Canada accounts for 60 per cent of the world's polar bear population. But dramatic changes, caused by global warming, are taking place in the Arctic that threaten the survival of this spectacular species.

Climate change is causing polar ice caps to melt, robbing the bears of the ice floes they need to hunt prey. If the Arctic ice cap continues to melt sooner and form later, Polar Bears will become too thin to reproduce and many scientists predict they will become extinct by the end of this century.

Thousands of Nature Canada supporters asked the federal government to act now before it’s too late – and  much work still needs to be done to protect the Polar Bear.

Nature Canada urges the federal government to take fast action on climate change to prevent the extinction of this spectacular species, and strongly recommends that a management plan – mandated by law – be completed in advance of the three-year deadline.
Publisher: Nature Canada on Nov 11, 2011