Polar Bear Roams Parliament Hill on Weekend

There was a polar bear roaming Parliament Hill this weekend! But while there were certainly a lot of people — and dogs — who were surprised at the sight, it was all for a good cause: raising awareness this Earth Day about the plight of the world’s largest land predator.

Inside the polar bear costume — yes, of course it wasn’t a real bear — was Dr. Karen Ewing, a physician who travelled all the way from Economy, Nova Scotia with her stepdaughter Marlee. Together with Susan Russell, a lawyer and friend from Chicago, the women spoke with families and other visitors about the dramatic changes, caused in large part by global warming, that are taking place in the Arctic, threatening the survival of this spectacular species.

Global warming is melting the polar ice caps, robbing the bears of the ice floes they need to hunt prey. As the annual sea ice melts, polar bears are forced ashore to spend their summers fasting. If the Arctic ice cap continues to melt sooner and form later, polar bears will become too thin to reproduce. According to University of Alberta researcher Andrw Derocher, females are 30 to 40 kilograms lighter than they were in the early 1980s. And they’re producing fewer cubs.

While Karen operated the life-like bear costume, made by Puppet Farm Arts and complete with levers to manipulate the front paws and face, Susan and Marlee handed out postcards, books and bookmarks with information about the polar bear. They were also encouraging people to sign Nature Canada’s petition calling for action to reduce the effects of climate change on polar bear habitat.

A big thank you to Karen, Marlee and Susan for your volunteer efforts and for spreading the word!

Check out these photos.

Image of polar bear mascot

Image of people with the polar bear masot

Marlee, Karen (in costume) and Susan on Parliament Hill, Ottawa

Image of the polar bear mascot

Image of a dog sniffing the polar bear mascot

Dogs didn’t know what to make of the bear!

Image of books on polar bears

Books, sticksers, bookmarks raise awareness

Image of polar bear information posters

Karen’s displays tell the polar bear’s story

Image of polar bear information posters

Thanks for telling people about our petition Karen!