Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Moment with Nature

Another beautiful painting by Robert Bateman, Polar Bear Profile

"My main interest in doing this painting was in exploring the fur of the polar bear, which is not really white, but a glowing cream colour. Moving across the bear from muzzle to head to flank is an adventure for the eyes. It is like flying over a complex landscape. The pale, uniform colour of the polar bear allows me to concentrate on the form in this landscape without the confusing variable of pattern and colour. I want one to be able to feel the fur in one's imagination. I certainly would not want to try it in real life.”

The polar bear is the king of the Great White North. But this majestic species faces an uncertain future. In Canada, their numbers have been declining at an alarming rate.
The polar bears in Canada are unique because they fast for six to eight months of hibernation and rely on winter hunting for survival. Yet, climate change is causing the disappearance of sea ice from which polar bears hunt their prey.

Snow is returning later and later after the summer months leaving polar bears stranded onshore for longer periods. And ice has been melting at a much earlier time of year in the spring months meaning every day of earlier breakup is one day less for the bear to hunt and rebuild stores of energy for the coming summer of hunger. Sadly, scientists have found that for every week the ice breaks up earlier the bears come ashore 10 kilograms lighter!

Thus, every winter in Churchill, Manitoba polar bears are 'arrested' and either kept contained in "polar bear jail" until the snow comes or they are airlifted further north to the frozen bay so that they can start their hunt again.

The magnificent and intelligent, beloved and beautiful... "shrinking" polar bears of Canada need to be protected and saved. If the climate continues to warm, polar bears everywhere will be among the most vulnerable creatures in the world...

No comments: