People are very privileged to witness and experience a profuse and diverse natural resources and wildlife on our planet. However, this abundance of natural resources comes with a big stewardship responsibility. For many years, people have known the moral obligation to conserve and guard the diversity of wildlife.
Loss of different species is very common nowadays. This loss is brought by population growth, habitat fragmentation and loss, invasive disease and resource removal (IPCC, 2001). Scientists state that the world is now living the sixth vast extinction. Countless species are in jeopardy. For instance, in the United States, more than five-hundred species are assumed to be extinct by now (Clark et al., 2002).
Biased and outmoded courses of action are depressing accomplishments for the preservation of species. Moreover, new threats to our biodiversity like the climate change are growing fast. The continuous escalation of the temperature worldwide will have an insidious effect on both the flora and the fauna (Clark et al., 2005).
In response to the need for the protection of our biodiversity, this paper outlines a major conservation strategy for a particular threatened species. This paper also evaluates the effectiveness of the outlined strategy to be able to generate a practical conservation plan for the upcoming years.
The species of polar bear (Ursus maritimus), is the chosen subject for this paper. It is one of the threatened species listed in the IUCN Red list. In order to establish a practical conservation plan for the polar bears, this paper will give an overview of polar bears, and then it will discuss the threats on the survival of polar bears. The paper will also discuss the major strategy present today for the conservation of the said species as well as the challenges on the implementation of this strategy.
Polar Bears and the threats to their survival
The polar bear (Ursus maritimus), have been harvested for thousands of years in Canada. It has a major role in Aboriginal traditions. The polar bear is the highest predator in the Arctic aquatic ecosystem. In the North, the polar bears serve as a renewable source of food and clothing. The management of polar bears changed over time. Before, the Aboriginal people kill polar bears for their survival. A polar bear can give a 200 kilogram meat as well as clothes from the skin for protection against cold (Clark, 2012). However, as time passes, the demand for the hides of polar bears increases due to the expansion of the production of clothes out of polar bears by the Hudson’s Bay Company. The hunting of the animal became a customary way of providing income to the people in North. The hunting in an unmanageable manner affects the population decline of the polar bears (Clark et al., 2008).
On the other hand, the climate warming also affects the decline of the polar bear’s population. The Arctic ice experiences a yearly meltdown due to climate change, and polar bears depend greatly to the Arctic ice. About one-third of the nineteen known polar bear population are decreasing. The remaining population is either in stable state or unknown due to insufficient data gathered. There are two polar bear populations that are within the U.S. authority. Some Environmental associations stated public concerns about the threat to the polar bears by climate change. There is a confirmation of the degree of Arctic sea ice meltdown in many regions. The break-up and freeze-up of ice occurs unscheduled (Norris, 2002).
The continuous decline on the Arctic sea ice is irreversible. And worse, some data projections show that Arctic sea ice will vanish totally by the end of this century. The three major groupings of contaminants that threaten the existence of polar bears include heavy metals, organic pollutants and petroleum hydrocarbons (Malcolm et al., 2002). There is a limited permission of polar bear harvesting in the United States for Alaska native hunters. Further, hunters are allowed to allot a portion of the harvested polar bears for sports agenda in some regions like Canada (Norris, 2002).
U.S. citizens can get permits to bring in polar bear for sports as prizes from Canada under the amendments of the 1994 MMPA. However, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposed to include the species of polar bears being a threatened species under ESA. FWS acknowledges the growing and undeniable threats to polar bears’ existence. The decision is based upon the available commercial and scientific records of different factors such as insufficiency of other regulatory systems, habitat devastation, natural factors, predation and overutilization (Buck, 2007).
Disagreements are present regarding to the extent of the threat brought by the climate change to the polar bears. There are worries if polar bears will be competent enough to adjust to these changing circumstances. In addition, not only the problem of climate is faced by the species but also the presence of the factors brought by human such as contaminations, oil spills and gas explosions that add to the threat of the polar bears’ existence (Buck, 2007).
All-embracing research involves different scientists around the globe for a better understanding of the impact of climate change especially on polar bears. Observation of the great carnivore population that includes vast regions of the Canadian Arctic is multifaceted. It needs multi-year preparation and needs coordination of the entire Canada through the PBAC. The strategy focused on the areas of possible conservation alarm (CITES, 2013).
The fundamental objective of Canada’s National Polar Bear Conservation Strategy is to supply a long-standing preservation of subpopulations of species of polar bear in the country. This is done through taking into consideration every threat that challenges the species. The strategy also aims to amplify the intensity of management among jurisdictions for the supervision of polar bear. Since the challenges and threats related with polar bear conservation are multifaceted and across-the-board, the strategy is separated into different parts such as an over-arching approach and the other one is a succession of annexes that offer a summary of the method of conservation (CITES, 2013).
Proposed Conservation Measures
The polar bear conservation strategy will be optimized with the establishment of a well-built international teamwork and administration. There should be a strategy that addresses all the factors that threatens the existence of the polar bear despite the presence of the broad interrelations of these factors. To identify the impacts of these threats individually, we must improve the examination and investigation of polar bears in different ranges.
The challenges faced by previous strategies of Polar Bear Conservation must be met. These challenges include the broadness of nature and relations of different threats, there is also the presence of the complexity of collection of information, the habitat preservation as well as the allocation of polar bear harvest.
The multiplicity of challenges to polar bear conservation goes ahead of polar bears and their habitation. It needs nationwide and worldwide collaboration by participants past those customarily concerned in polar bear administration.
International movement is necessary to decrease greenhouse gases so as to attend to climate change. Likewise, pollutant discharges, industrial and shipping activities are disheveled with international trade and industry markets, and occupy a diversity of global welfare. Furthermore, the acknowledged threats cannot be regarded as affecting polar bear in separation or exclusive from each other. One solution is to administer interaction and the extensive nature of threat brought by the harvest and further human manipulations in dilapidated populations.
Thus, the requirement of further research comes additional funding. To sustain the conservation plan, a sufficient funding must also be our focus. Lack of funding limits our ability to assess and promote the conservation movement. For the next conservation strategy, we must address the known weaknesses of the previous strategies.
Another proposal is getting a consensus breakdown of the total allowable harvest to monitor and manage the population of the polar bear even though it could result to dissimilarities of judgments in addition to communication dispute in a northern setting.
In general, for attaining the goal of conservation of species, we must establish an adequate financial support that will encourage researches and promotions. We should also support the improvement of the law implementation. Most importantly, the devotion and commitment to the strategy should be done in both national and international aspects.
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