© Larry Malvin


Defenders in Action in the Arctic


Fighting harmful oil and gas development

Defenders is fighting to block harmful oil and gas development proposals in Congress, working to achieve a wilderness designation for the Arctic refuge’s coastal plain and advocating against dangerous oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean.

Creating climate adaptation policy

We’re working with federal and state organizations to plan strategically for climate change impacts and implement these plans to conserve Arctic wildlife including;

·         Collaborating with and representing Defenders with numerous partners including state and federal agencies and academic organizations such as: Alaska Climate Research Center, US Geological Survey, US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Forest Service.

•              Ensuring that climate change adaptation strategies are included within Defenders’ work in the Arctic, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and Tongass and Chugach National Forests.

•              Formulating policy and management responses in the context of other major threats to biodiversity exacerbated by climate impacts (e.g. habitat changes, destruction, invasive species and development).

•              Engaging in climate change issues at a national, Arctic-wide and international level through involvement with Alaska’s state leadership, the Arctic Council, the US Polar Bear Recovery Plan and others.

Polar bear coexistence and habitat protection

Defenders is working with, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Alaska Native communities to share polar bear coexistence practices by hosting workshops and trainings focused on polar bear deterrence methods, as well as expanding the number of second-generation  polar bear-proof food storage container  to keep bears out of trouble in local communities. Supporting new research undertaken by the University of Alaska Fairbanks testing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to identify and map polar bear maternal dens to ensure ice roads and other development do not disturb them in the winter and early spring months. Creating future conservation leaders by supporting Alaska Native university students for summer polar bear research internships with USGS via the Alaska Native Science Engineering Program or ANSEP.

Wildlife oil spill preparedness

We’re working with the Kawerak Inc, the Bering Strait coastal communities, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Park Service, U.S. Coast Guard, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Interior, Alaska Ocean Observing System, Axiom Data Science Inc,, Chadux Inc,  and others to ensure that communities are a meaningful part of an efficient and coordinated wildlife response is in place in the event of an oil spill. Supporting remote cameras deployed along the Arctic Ocean to capture and record disturbances to Pacific walrus haulouts so that measures can be put in place to reduce these impacts.

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