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Polar Bear Week

Polar Bear Week – November 3-9, 2024

We observe Polar Bear Week during the first full week of November, running from November 3 to November 9 this year. It coincides with the Fall polar bear migration to Churchill, Manitoba, where the bears gather to wait for Hudson Bay to freeze up so they can return to hunt seals. During Polar Bear Week, the focus is on the importance of sea ice to polar bears and how to tackle climate change and ensure their survival. Future generations of polar bears depend on the decisions we make today. It’s of utmost importance to leverage our power as citizens to save the polar bear’s home.

History of Polar Bear Week

Polar Bear Week started as a way to get people from all over the world to make extra efforts in reducing their impact on the environment during this week. The week-long observation aims to create awareness about climate change, especially concerning polar bears. Many people are already reducing energy consumption in their homes, schools, and workplaces. Steps such as turning thermostats down, driving less, using more energy-efficient devices, and recycling can add years to a polar bear’s life. The awareness created through Polar Bear Week attracts more supporters and conservationists every year.

According to scientists, climate change has caused a massive reduction of the Arctic sea ice. The polar bears are spending less time on the ice, meaning they have fewer seals to eat, the main component of their diet. Polar bears not only need the sea ice to maintain their dietary needs but also for traveling, socializing, and mating. Climate change disturbs the freezing up of the Arctic sea, messing up the polar bear’s migratory and hunting patterns.

The changing climate is a reality, but from observations over the past 50 years, researchers haven’t identified a consistent decline in the health of the wildlife that migrates to the Hudson Bay before the harsh winter starts. Hudson Bay continues to see many healthy bears, including moms with cubs, and they hope that future generations will also have the opportunity to walk with and live among polar bears.

Polar Bear Week timeline

1 Million Years Ago
Polar Bears Come into Existence

Polar bears evolve from brown bears.

130,000 Years Ago
Oldest Polar Bear Fossil

The oldest fossil known is a well-preserved jaw from Svalbard.

Polar Bears Named

Commander C.J. Phipps names them polar bears for the first time.

Polar Bears Renamed

Polar bear scientists return to the bear’s original scientific name, ‘Ursus maritimus.’

Polar Bear Week FAQs

Why are polar bears being killed?

Native Arctic people hunt the polar bears for food, clothing, and to sell their skin.  

How many polar bears are left in the Arctic?

Global estimates suggest that around 22,000 to 31,000 polar bears remain in their natural habitat.

What is the “polar bear capital of the world”?

About a thousand bears migrate to Churchill from July to November, earning it the nickname the “polar bear capital of the world.” Here, the planet’s largest land carnivores spend the summer and await winter, when the bay freezes and they can perch on the ice and hunt for ringed seals.

How To Observe Polar Bear Week

  1. Attend an awareness event

    Many conservationist organizations and zoos organize awareness events during Polar Bear Week. Attend a talk to find out more about these magnificent animals.

  2. Go green

    The best way to help polar bears is by taking active measures to reduce your carbon footprint. Recycle, use public transport, and save electricity to battle climate change.

  3. Watch a documentary

    You will find plenty of documentaries and reading materials on polar bears and their habitat. Spend the day learning about the impact of climate change on these bears.

5 Facts About Polar Bears That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. They are exclusively carnivores

    Unlike other bear species, polar bears only eat meat.

  2. Polar bears are massive

    Polar bears are the largest carnivorous land mammals on Earth.

  3. Polar bears can be found outside of the Arctic

    Polar bears are found in Alaska, Canada, Russia, Greenland, and Svalbard.

  4. They prefer living in solitude

    Although bear siblings are playful with each other, polar bears prefer being alone, except when they need a mate.

  5. They have a lifespan of 25 years

    A polar bear can rarely live to be 30 years.

Why We Love Polar Bear Week

  1. Protects an endangered species

    Polar bears have become endangered due to the climate emergency and human activities. Polar Bear Week aims to protect the animals and work actively towards restoring their dwindling numbers.

  2. A week to do something good

    Polar Bear Week gives us a chance to do meaningful conservation work and find solutions to save the planet.

  3. Polar bears are important to our ecosystem

    Polar bears are crucial for maintaining the ecological balance and food chain hierarchy like all creatures, big and small. This week-long celebration highlights the important roles that a polar bear plays in nature.

Polar Bear Week dates

2022October 30Sunday
2023October 29Sunday
2024November 3Sunday
2025November 2Sunday
2026November 1Sunday

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