Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Tale of New Hope for (some) Polar Bears...and Tough Shit for (some) Penguins

Antarctic Polar Bear Relocation
Seattle, WA. March 31, 2008 -- The Polar Bear Conservancy will begin relocation of the first Arctic polar bears to Antarctica on Earth Day, April 22, 2008. The relocation will be the initial step in a planned five-year program to migrate 3,000 polar bears from the Northern Arctic to the southern continent of Antarctica.
Scientists say polar bears face near-certain extinction by 2020 as global climate change accelerates melting of their habitat in the Northern Arctic. Antarctica, in contrast, can be a viable home for the bears. Though experiencing melting of its own, the southernmost continent still has sufficient ice coverage to support the polar bear indefinitely in its traditional climate, and it has abundant food stocks, including penguins, seals, dolphins, and migratory whales.
"The public sees images of polar bears drowning on television and they expect us to do something about it," says Polar Bear Conservancy Executive Director Jason Fairbanks. "The time to act is now." Fairbanks says the entire program will be complete by 2012.
The program is expected to cost $30 million U.S., or approximately $10,000 U.S. per polar bear. The Polar Bear Conservancy has raised the first $15 million from corporate donors and is seeking additional funding through industry and government partnerships.
While the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has not yet ruled on whether to list polar bears as endangered species, the agency has indicated that relocating polar bears would be much less expensive than listing them under the 1973 act.
"This innovative private program will save taxpayers dollars billions of dollars that would otherwise be wasted on unnecessary habitat protection and economically ruinous strategies designed to combat so-called climate change," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. [Huh? The same Grover Norquist who said he wanted to shrink government to the size where he could "drown it in a bathtub"? How many guys could there be named Grover Norquist? Why on Earth does this corporate Rightist suddenly care enough about polar bears to approve of spending a dime on their rescue from oblivion? Because it seems his opponents might otherwise actually succeed in getting the PB's listen as Endangered Species, and that would trigger spending of "billions of dollars... wasted on unnecessary habitat protection and economically ruinous strategies designed to combat so-called climate change." I believe a better word choice than "unnecessary" would be "tragically futile." The idea that climate change is a merely rhetorical phenomenon---"so-called"---is a fantasy for people whose enjoyment of wealth may be compromised by submersion under 16 meters of melted sea ice.]
Americans for Energy Exploration, a trade group that represents the oil and gas industry, says that the removal of polar bears from the northern Arctic would speed the drilling process in the region and make the area safer for workers who frequently come into conflict with polar bears today. [Oh, so thaaaat's it...]
Republican presidential nominee John McCain also supports the effort: "This is exactly the kind of creative public-private partnership we ought to be exploring. I support the basic concepts of this program." [It sure would have poured a lot of money into Sarah Palin's gaping Alaskan pie-hole...]
The first batch [What are they, pancakes?] of polar bears will be released on the edge of the Ross Sea near emperor penguin colonies trapped by recent the movement of giant icebergs C16 and B15A. "These penguins would starve to death anyway,"[That makes sense, nature being what it is... still, it feels shocking, since a tiny group of the already tiny remaining population of polar bears are suddenly (thank God!) exempt from the brutal dominionism that makes us indifferent to the entire biosphere and everybody in it who isn't bipedal, whereas -- screw these penguins.] said Polar Bear Conservancy staff biologist Jon Heidenberg. "Now they can provide an initial source of food for the polar bears while they [that is, the bears] acclimate to their new environment." [When the polar bears get there, the starving emperor penguin families are going to be like, as if things didn't already suck enough... it looks like there's suddenly a new kind of enormous snow-colored monster nobody's ever seen before, and they do not seem to be carrying any fish with them....]
Antarctica offers more than 5.4 million square miles of glacial habitat and a variety of food sources for the polar bear: emperor, adelie, rockhopper, chinstrap and gentoo penguins; leopard, fur, weddell and elephant seals; and humpback, minke, blue and orca whales.
In partnership with the Polar Bear Conservancy, Iceland's Reykjavik Zoo has been test-feeding samples of various Antarctic species to their polar bears. "They really like the minke and blue whale meat supplied by our government research expeditions," said chief zoo biologist Katrin Jonsdottir. [Oh, great -- feed the blue whale meat to the polar bears. Let's encourage all the endangered species to eat each other... ]
Because of the distance between release points and Antarctic research stations, scientists working in the Antarctic region do not expect roaming polar bears to interfere with their work.
Citizens and corporate representatives interested in supporting our campaign can visit our Web site at or our Facebook group.
For additional information about the Polar Bear Relocation Program, contact Lisa Stahl, our Director of Media Relations.
About The Polar Bear Conservancy
Founded in 2006, the Polar Bear Conservancy is dedicated to protecting the polar regions' most magnificent mammal.
Lisa Stahl, Director of Media Relations
The Polar Bear Conservancy

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