Polar bear early-warning system goes live in Canada
June 17, 2021
A pilot project in Canada dedicated to the protection of polar bears,
a threatened animal species, is now under way with the help of a
German sensor company.
Sensor solutions company Hensoldt - based in Taufkirchen, Germany -
has made its technology available for the protection of threatened
species. The company has signed an agreement with the charitable
organisation Polar Bears International to initiate a pilot project
featuring a sensor-based early warning system that alerts people to
the imminent arrival of polar bears in human settlements, thus giving
those communities more notice and time to mitigate negative
The pilot project, called 'Polar Bear Warning Radar' (PoWR), will be
operated by Polar Bears International in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada -
the 'Polar Bear Capital of the World' - on the shores of Hudson Bay.
Polar bears live on the surface of the Arctic sea ice where they
travel, mate, sometimes den and hunt ringed and bearded seals, their
main prey. In the Hudson Bay region, climate warming is causing sea
ice to melt earlier in the summer and freeze later in the autumn,
forcing polar bears to fast on land for ever-longer periods. As a
result, polar bears in this region of the Arctic are spending
approximately one month longer on land, without access to their main
As a consequence of these longer fasting periods, polar bears are
coming into human communities more often in search of food. Many
communities have wildlife managers, who rely on people seeing polar
bears and notifying them so that actions can be taken to protect both
community members and the polar bears. However, visual observations
are limited, especially at night and during storms.
Polar Bears International?s (PBI) mission is to conserve polar bears
and the sea ice on which they depend. PBI is the only non-profit
organisation dedicated solely to wild polar bears and Arctic sea ice
and is a recognised leader in polar bear conservation.
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