Richard Branson and Bo Derek Unite To Protect Canada’s Polar Bears

It’s no secret climate change is the largest environmental threat to our planet, with adverse consequences affecting people, nature and the economy. Canada’s Arctic is warming faster than any place on Earth, putting wildlife such as the iconic Polar Bear in peril. As Ontario is home to the southernmost population of these fascinating animals, our role is crucial to the protection and conservation of an estimated 700 – 1,000 bears.

Canada’s Polar Bears in the Hudson Bay have been closely studied for years. These beautiful bears are meant to hunt from the ice for their meals right up to early summer, but now the ice is melting all too soon, preventing them from properly nourishing themselves and leading to significant loss of body mass. In addition, females are giving birth to fewer cubs and the total numbers of bears are in decline. Renowned researcher Dr. Ian Stirling has predicted the extinction of the southernmost populations within the next 20 to 30 years unless current trends are reversed.

Sir Richard Branson visited Toronto this March with his non-profit foundation, Virgin Unite and international wildlife conservation organization WildAid, to announce that legislation to protect these polar bears will be tabled at Queen’s Park this spring. Dedicated to protecting wildlife globally, Richard recognizes that with their habitat increasingly threatened, the survival of the Polar Bear is in jeopardy.

Actress and Wild Aid board member Bo Derek, joined Richard asking the business community and citizens alike to lend support to greater protect the Polar Bear and their home in the Great Canadian North.

Many passionate Ontarians were also present at the Toronto conference, sharing their resolve to protect these magnificent bears. Richard was thrilled to see our youth, members of Earth Rangers, also speaking up for the Polar Bear. As well, members of the First Nations, who have lived and interacted with these exceptional creatures for decades, lent their voice to the plight of the Polar Bear and the immediate need for action. Ontarians aim to take the lead of our westerly neighbours in Manitoba, who already have a Polar Bear Protection Act in place.

You can support greater protection for polar bears online by visiting www.wildaid.org/polarbears.

Since 2008, Wild Aid Canada has been active in building partnerships with business, educators, and governments throughout the country. WildAid is pursuing a variety of initiatives designed to counter the multi-billion dollar illegal international trade in wildlife products and to implement national programs to reduce the human threat to wildlife. During their visit both Richard and Wild Aid acknowledged and thanked the City of Toronto for their recent ban on shark fin products, and they are hopeful that this ban will be adopted nationally, in addition to legislation to increase protection for Canada’s Polar bears.

The non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group, Virgin Unite works to connect people and entrepreneurial ideas to make change happen. The aim is to help revolutionize the way that governments, businesses and the social sector work together – driving business as a force for good. For more information please visit www.virginunite.com, facebook.com/virginunite or follow our twitter @VirginUnite.