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UPDATED: World Leaders Commit to Conservation Measures at Polar Bear Forum

Leaders attending the International Forum on Polar Bear Conservation in Moscow made critical commitments today to help polar bears persist across their Arctic range. The commitments were made at a forum supported by World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

A key commitment made in the Forum Declaration is that the five states responsible for polar bear populations – Canada, Norway, Denmark and Greenland, Russia and the United States – will work on managing the home of the bears by taking into account the effects of the Arctic’s shrinking ice, and increasing industrial interest.

“We welcome the commitments made today,” says WWF polar bear lead, Geoff York. “But we will also be watching to see that they are backed by action. WWF will track the activities of the states in an annual report card. We will also continue to support critical polar bear work across the Arctic, contributing our resources and expertise to assess the health of populations, identify and manage key habitats, and reduce conflict between bears and people.”

According to WWF, the Forum commitments will help manage polar bear habitats and direct threats to the bears, such as human conflicts, poaching and industrial development. However, addressing the longer-term threat of climate change will require investment from polar bear range states and beyond in renewable energy. Investing in renewable energy can help reduce the impacts of climate change, which has resulted in the melting of sea ice, relied upon by the bears for hunting their main prey, seals, and breeding.