The Arctic Ocean—the pristine home to bowhead whales, gray whales, polar bears, walruses, and other magnificent wildlife, along with many indigenous communities—could potentially lose crucial protections from risky offshore oil and gas drilling.
The pressures driving desires to develop the Arctic are not unfamiliar to us. We see them in these other magnificent places. Expedited transportation routes. New fossil fuel reserves. Robust new fisheries. But we need to ensure that the push to exploit these resources does not overrun efforts to conserve them. We need to keep in mind some guiding principles.
After years of searching for oil in the cold and turbulent waters of Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, Royal Dutch Shell has abandoned its plans to drill for the “foreseeable future.” This announcement is the conclusion of weeks of summer exploration, where results of drilling to a depth of 6,800 feet indicated oil and gas findings were “not sufficient to warrant further exploration.”
For another year, Arctic sea ice will cover much less of the Arctic Ocean than it used to. And with less ice comes more killer whales—predators that feed on other whales, including some recovering species.
The US government announced its draft plan to conserve polar bears, calling for timely and decisive reduction of greenhouse gas emission levels to curb climate change. Immediate action to reduce the long-term impact of climate change is essential.
WWF today called on the U.S. government to prohibit offshore oil and gas drilling activities in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off of Alaska, and not to issue any new permits until companies demonstrate that they can drill safely in the region.
In recognition of the leadership role the US must play in the Arctic, especially to address climate change impacts, President Obama has announced an Executive Order that will help the US government coordinate work in the management of the Arctic and its precious resources.
Today President Obama announced the protection of Bristol Bay, Alaska, from offshore oil and gas drilling. Bristol Bay is home to the last pristine salmon ecosystem in North America and stands unmatched in its productivity. Nearly 50 percent of the world’s wild sockeye salmon come from these waters.
Forty percent. That’s the stunning population loss for polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea. The news comes from a new study linking the dramatic decline in this polar bear subpopulation in northeast Alaska and Canada to a loss of sea ice due to climate change.
WWF's Elisabeth Kruger focuses on mitigating conflict between polar bears and people, and ensuring species conservation is consistent in the three countries that are home to the Bering, Chukchi, and Beafort Sea polar bears: the US, Russia and Canada.
As Arctic sea ice nears its minimum this year, walruses—mostly females and their young—have been forced ashore into crowded haul-outs in Russia and Alaska. The sea ice has again disappeared over shallow feeding areas in the Chukchi Sea.
New research mapping a range of oil spill scenarios in the Canadian Beaufort Sea finds that a spill would likely reach the U.S. shorelines of Alaska and could affect the local communities and wildlife living there.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a proposal to protect the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, Alaska, from the potentially destructive impacts of the proposed Pebble Mine.
Extreme weather events, melting glaciers and rising sea levels—all with links to climate change—are impacting the United States and the world, according to a new report by a group of leading US scientists and released by the White House on May 6.
WWF scientists spent two weeks in April on a research expedition to the islands of Arctic Norway to study polar bears and their habitat. They gathered data on 53 bears total and placed GPS collars on seven females.