EFA: Etsy For Animals Etsy For Animals: Looking at Climate Change: POLAR BEARS

Etsy for Animals (EFA) aka Artists Helping Animals,

is a team of independent artists, craftspeople,

vintage sellers and craft suppliers on Etsy.com

who are dedicated to providing charitable relief to animals

by donating a portion of the profits from their shops

to an animal charity of their choosing,

and/or to EFA's featured Charity of the Month.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Looking at Climate Change: POLAR BEARS

written by Heather Windmiller

by thebluewindmill

Looking at Climate Change

Global warming along with environmental disasters such as the Gulf Oil Spill are taking their toll on our wildlife here in the United States... from the sea turtles of the southern coastal waters of Florida to the Pikas of the mountain strongholds in the western Great Basin region... to the polar bears to the northern ice of Alaska.

This feature highlights polar bears, explaining briefly how these environmental changes are impacting their day to day lives, and also includes a petition that seeks legislative action to increase their chance of survival. Etsy for Animals is supporting Defenders of Wildlife this month, not only through our Charity of the Month program, but also through petition signing.

Defenders of Wildlife, an organization dedicated to creating change to safeguard wilderness habitat and the creatures that inhabit it, have presented the following information about polar bears in their Fact Sheet.

USFWS National Digital Library
Photo Credit: Miller, Susanne

As their name suggests, ursus maritimus, polar bears are mainly a marine bear, spending much of their time searching for prey. The adult male maintains a weight of 550-1700 lbs while the adult female maintains a weight of 200-700 lbs.

Individual polar bears can travel thousands of miles per year following the seasonal advance and retreat of sea ice. They are dependent on older, more stable pack ice to survive. The most important habitats for polar bears are the edges of pack ice, where currents and wind interact with the ice, forming a continually melting and refreezing matrix of ice patches. These are the areas of greatest seal abundance and accessibility.”

USFWS National Digital Library
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Labunski

Pregnant females commonly have two one-pound cubs and nurse them until they are 20-30 pounds, which means they need to eat a lot in summer and fall to build up enough fat reserves in order to nurse the cubs to a healthy weigh and they remain with their mother for at least 2 1/2 years. A female bear will only have about five litters within her lifetime, “one of the lowest reproductive rates of any mammal".

Rainbow Warriors
by thebluewindmill

Females need the older, thick stable ice to den their cubs. They need soft, deep snow to insulate their cubs from harsh weather as well as sufficient fat reserves to support the mother’s health and to provide milk for her cubs during their denning. The lack of sea ice has forced the polar bears’ prey, the bearded and ringed seals, to move to more favorable conditions to give birth and rear their young, making them harder to find.

USFWS National Digital Library
Photo Credit: USFWS

Non-breeding polar bears do not den or hibernate in winter but continue to search for food throughout the year. Polar bears hunt the seals by stalking them through their breathing holes in the ice, and as the ice pack diminishes the thinning ice creates a loss of habitat and an overall reduction of their food source vastly decreasing successful hunts.

The polar bear, the most carnivorous of bears, could become extinct by the year 2050... only 40 years from now. Their survival depends on us addressing climate change and reducing fossil fuel emissions... without which the sea ice in the Arctic will continue to disappear causing polar bears to starve and drown.

USFWS National Digital Library
Photo Credit: Miller, Susanne

“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.” Chief Seattle

"Defenders of Wildlife is working with Congress and the Obama administration to ensure that policies and resources are made available to address the worst impacts of climate change..."

"Reason For Hope: the polar bear is an iconic symbol of global warming, and among the first species to be so affected by it. More and more countries around the world, in particular those that incorporate Arctic landscape like the United States, Russia, Canada, and Greenland, are pledging to fight global warming in order to preserve the polar bear..."

by mvegan5

"Send a message to senators urging them to say “Yes!” to comprehensive legislation to address climate change and “No!” to more dangerous offshore drilling."

Save Sea Turtles and Polar Bears
from Big Oil's Double-Barreled Thread:

Unique areas within Alaska’s Western Arctic Reserve are key habitat for our struggling polar bears... The Bureau of Land Management is working on a new management plan for the entire reserve -- and we can help ensure that these amazing places are protected. Urge the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to provide maximum protection for the homes of polar bears, migratory birds and other wildlife living in the Western Arctic Reserve."

Help Protect the Homes of Polar Bears
(deadline for comments is Friday Sept 24th !)
I'm a Defender of Wildlife - Are You? - Defenders.org

Click on the link above to visit DOW's website !
You can also take a peek at Defenders blog HERE

To read more blog articles on Defenders of Wildlife
see September 1 post HERE
and September 2 post HERE


  1. What an awesome article and the photos are artwork are wonderful. Such beautiful and unique animals, they really need our help and I've signed both petitions.

  2. Thanks so much Lisa!
    Looks great Nicole! Thanks so much for putting it together!
    Polar bears are so majestic! I can't believe that there is a real possibility of their extinction! We can't let this happen!
    I've signed both petitions too!
    Petition no. 1 about the sea turtle and polar bears has 49,581 signatures and they need 55,000 signatures!

  3. Petition #2 has less than 48 hrs for public comment to BLM... PLEASE be sure to sign it as well :)

  4. Thanks for this informative article Heather. It's so sad what we are doing to the poor polar bears. There is an excellent David Attenborough program as part of his Planet Earth series that portrayed what is happening to them really well - it brings a lump to your throat. Jx

  5. Thanks, Heather for this worthy blog entry, we all need to take action and make our voices heard and our own foot print smaller for there to be any hope in stemming the demise of such wonderful creatures. Once they are gone , they can never come back, we can not allow this to happen!Sign petitions, live green, buy local, use less, recycle, By each of us doing our parts we can all make a difference. A river is created from many small drops.Every drop counts, now more than ever..we need to act!Thanks...

  6. A very well-written post! Many facts I did not know. Thank you. And, of course, love the art work included!

  7. This is such a wonderful post! Thank you for speaking out for the Polar Bears, I love Heather's Polar Bear artwork and thank you for featuring mine too, hoping our art and this post/petition can help these magical creatures.


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