Habitat Conservation

When habitats are threatened, so are the animals who live there.

Life After Ice

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In 1773, King George III of England appointed naval officer Constantine John Phipps to command an Arctic expedition to search for a passage to the Pacific Ocean. Instead, on the ice fields near Spitsbergen (now Svalbard), Norway, Phipps found polar bears. The explorer was the first to describe the bears as a distinct species, Ursus maritimus. Were he to undertake the journey today, Phipps would spot polar bears not on sea ice but wandering along rocky shorelines, searching for frozen water. For polar bears—marine mammals and apex predators of arctic realms in Norway, Canada, Greenland, Russia and Alaska—everything begins and ends with ice, or more to the point, with the ice edge. For the bears, that edge is the thin line between life and death. If sea ice continues to melt at its current rate, scientists believe two-thirds of the world’s 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears could be gone by 2050. Sea ice is vital to polar bears because the surface provides the platform on which bears can travel and from which they are able to hunt for their choice prey, ringed seals. Found in arctic waters on ice floes and pack ice, ringed seals—also known as ice seals—scratch away at the ice with clawed flippers, maintaining open breathing holes and allowing them to live where other seals can’t.

Winter 2015

Volume and Issue: 
Volume 89, Issue 4
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Polar bears, © Joan Cambray
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Defenders Magazine
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Not So Sunny in Patagonia

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Desert, © Julia Chen
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On the Blog

by Anne Russell Gregory

The wildlife, water supply and endangered species of the Patagonia Mountains mining projects deserve protection, not pollution.

The post Not So Sunny in Patagonia appeared first on Defenders of Wildlife Blog.

Feds Agree to Protect More Habitat for East Coast’s Most Endangered Whales by 2016

BOSTON— A deadline for expanding critical habitat protections for the North Atlantic right whale — one of the world’s most endangered whales — has been set in response to a legal settlement agreement. Each year most of the 500 North Atlantic right whales remaining on Earth migrate from their feeding and breeding grounds off the U.S. Northeast to their nursery areas off the Southeast.

Wildlife Advocates Celebrate BLM’s denial of poorly-sited solar project near California’s Death Valley National Park

FOR IMMIDIATE RELEASE

November 21, 2014

Contact: Courtney Sexton; 202.772.0253, csexton@defenders.org

Wildlife Advocates Celebrate BLM’s denial of poorly-sited solar project near California’s Death Valley National Park

Project would harm threatened and endangered species in fragile Mojave Desert region

Tribes in Montana to receive Yellowstone bison

Publication Date: 
November 14, 2014
Publication Source: 
The Oregonian
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Bison, © Walter Novak
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Defenders In the News

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