Polar explorer Borge Ousland’s approach to protecting himself.
We will be spending as much time as we can, when not navigating ice, exploring isolated islands, mountains and glaciers hiking, climbing and camping in some of the most remote areas of the Arctic. In looking at getting all our land equipment in check we have to consider the places where we are headed to are frequented by polar bears. In planning our trip people are always writing us about arming ourselves against polar bears but we have been looking at different ways of protecting ourselves and the bears we encounter by non-malicious means. This means taking simple precautionary steps such as not camping by shorelines which bears like to follow, to surround camps with a detection system such as trip wires and to carry signal flares and a fog horn to scare the bears away. We are more interested in highlighting the polar bears plight in the midst of a changing Arctic environment.
According to the WWF there are “ 20-25,000 polar bears living in the wild, the species is not currently endangered, but its future is far from certain. In 1973, Canada, the United States, Denmark, Norway and the former U.S.S.R. signed the International Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears and their Habitat. This agreement restricts the hunting of polar bears and directs each nation to protect their habitats, but it does not protect the bears against the biggest man-made threat to their survival: climate change. If current warming trends continue unabated, scientists believe that polar bears will be vulnerable to extinction within the next century. To learn more about the topic, read the WWF report Vanishing Kingdom: The Melting Realm of the Polar Bear .”