International Polar Bear Day is an annual event hosted by Polar Bears International (PBI), the world’s leading polar bear conservation group. The annual event adopts a number of initiatives in which the public can participate to help generate awareness about habitat loss and other conservation issues.
On Wednesday, February 27, 2013, the PBI organization is encouraging the public to take part in the Thermostat Challenge by adjusting their thermostats up or down a few degrees (depending on location and season) to lower carbon emissions.
On Tuesday, February 26, 2013, the Zoo will host a private event honoring the Zoo’s top stakeholders who helped make Glacier Run possible, followed by a public presentation by renowned polar bear scientist Dr. Andrew Derocher at Bellarmine University at 7:00 pm about his recent research, “Rapid Ecosystem Change and Polar Bear Conservation.”
“Glacier Run is the culmination of decades of our insights and expertise in polar bear habitat design,” says John Kemper, VP at PGAV Destinations and project lead on Glacier Run. “It was an absolute pleasure to work with the Louisville Zoo team, and I’m really looking forward to joining in their celebration next week.”
PGAV is also behind the design of two of the country’s most recent, and largest, polar bear habitats at some of its most iconic zoos. Great Bear Wilderness opened at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago in 2010, a 7.5-acre expanse which features the cultural significance, history, and survival challenges of polar bears. The zoo’s largest exhibit ever undertaken, Great Bear Wilderness also incorporates grizzly bears, bison, eagles, and Mexican gray wolves.
Also opened in 2010 is the Kansas City Zoo’s Polar Bear Passage. Full of recreated glaciers, interactive exhibits, and above-and-below water viewing, this 10,000 sq. ft. habitat is home to six-year-old Nikita, born at the Toledo Zoo and named after a Russian polar bear researcher.
PGAV Destinations is the design firm behind SeaWorld’s Wild Arctic attraction in both Orlando and San Diego, each featuring polar bears. Guests have the opportunity to participate in a rich media attraction in which they board the White Thunder helicopter and experience an adventure in the Arctic including animal tracking and winter storms. After the ride, guests explore the habitats of polar bears, beluga whales, and walruses, and learn about the plight of their valuable Arctic ecosystem.
“PGAV Destinations has worked for decades with zoos and conservation groups to help heighten the awareness and empower people to act regarding polar bear conservation,” says Kemper. “While we can’t name any names yet, our upcoming exhibit work will be an absolute continuation of our efforts in collaboration and research to help protect many of our world’s endangered species.”