A good day for people and polar bears in Arviat

I’m feeling really, really good today, thanks to the great positive joint news release we have issued to today with the Inuit community of Arviat, Nunavut, on the western shores of Hudson Bay. For several years, the 3,000 people of Arviat have been concerned about the increasing number of polar bears lingering in or near the community, putting families and property at risk.
Arviat image
With support from WWF, the community has been able to install 7 solar-powered electric fences around the sled dog compounds that were attracting polar bears to the community as they waited for the sea ice to reform.  They were also able to hire one of the best hunters – Leo, a wonderful man who took me out on patrol with him when I visited last year – to patrol the whole area every night in the October-December peak period for polar bear activity.
The result: a steep reduction in the number of ‘nuisance’ polar bears that had to be killed in defence of human life and property, from 8 in 2010 down to zero last fall.  Now that’s really applied conservation work on the ground – helping a key subpopulation of this ice-dependent species and local people coexist safely.
I’m so grateful for those who helped by donating funds to WWF to help in these tough conservation situations, including Coca-Cola Canada.   Thank you, and thank you to the great Hamlet of Arviat for your foresight and leadership.
Our next step is to use the successful Arviat program as a model for others across the Arctic.  But we can’t do it alone – please donate to the Arctic Home campaign today to support our Arctic conservation work.  Until March 15, 2013, Coca-Cola will generously match your donations, dollar-for-dollar up to $1M!
To really get a feel for the situation in Arviat, check out this great story on the project from CBC North.