Wildlife expert Gordon Buchanan has worked on some of our favourite nature docuentaries and has spent time with polar bears in their natural habitat. He joined us to talk about Arctic Home, our campaign with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to help protect the polar bears’ future.
What was it like getting close to the polar bears?
Spending time in the Arctic really was the fulfilment of a lifetime’s ambition. They are, beyond any doubt, the most impressive animals I have spent time with. It was a tough place and a tough species to follow – fear and fascination in equal measures.
What was your most memorable moment?
When I was in a mother’s den (after she had left, of course), it felt incredibly intimate even though she was long gone. It was a simple snow hole, but it was where she had spent the previous six months, giving birth to and suckling her cubs.
What do you love about the bears?
They are stunningly beautiful, much more so in the flesh. They not only look impressive, they live extraordinary lives in one of the most extreme environments on the planet. The Polar regions are one of the few parts of the planet that humans struggle to survive in, but for polar bears, it’s home.
Why is Arctic Home so important?
I’ve seen first-hand how vulnerable polar bears are, how uncertain their future is. With the loss of summer sea ice, polar bears are deprived of their only hunting ground. Without sufficient sea ice, they struggle to survive. Arctic Home’s entire focus is about conserving and protecting the only place on the planet where polar bears can exist in the wild.
What can we all do to help?
It starts with waste. Whether it’s wasted food, wasted water, gas, electricity, petrol… We all have to acknowledge that the way that we live our lives affects the lives of other species that share this planet. If we make changes in our individual lives, and are conscientious in using all resources, it gives us the power and knowledge to tell politicians and policymakers that we all must make changes to secure the polar bears’ Arctic home for the future.
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