Photo: Erinn Hermsen

Top 10 Conservation Highlights in 2023



26 Dec 2023

As we look back over the past year, we wanted to take a moment to highlight the progress we made together on behalf of polar bears. Here are our Top 10 highlights from 2023, all made possible because of your support and generosity.

Protecting Moms and Cubs

Denning is the most vulnerable time in a polar bear’s life. Your support allowed us to deploy 3 remote cameras at den sites in Svalbard, Norway, adding to our understanding of the needs of denning families. We also conducted 6 ultra-band radar tests to detect dens under the snow and provided expert commentary on Arctic National Wildlife Refuge protections. Learn more

Photo: Dmytro Cherkasov

Coexistence Efforts

Keeping polar bears and people safe is critically important as melting sea ice forces more polar bears to spend more time onshore. Because of you, we worked with 6 northern communities in 2 countries on bear-safe initiatives that could serve as a model for others to follow. Efforts ranged from deterrence training to waste management and safety messaging.

Groundbreaking Research

Your generosity made several key scientific papers possible in 2023. This includes one by our chief scientist emeritus, Dr. Steven Amstrup, that paves the way for adding climate protections for polar bears under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The findings could have implications beyond the U.S. and could be applied to other climate-impacted species.

Indigenous Perspectives

Thanks to your commitment, we added 2 Indigenous board advisors to our board of directors, broadening our insights and perspectives. We also supported our 2nd study highlighting Indigenous knowledge, this one on how Indigenous peoples in Churchill, Canada, coexisted with polar bears in the past, are doing so in the present, and how they envision the future. Watch our webcast

Photo: Kt Miller / Polar Bears International

Katie de Muelles and Georgina Berg.

Education and Outreach

Your support allowed us to test the concept of a pop-up interpretive center, Polar Bears International Ice House, in Svalbard, Norway, during the summer Arctic cruise season. The project builds on the success of our interpretive center in Churchill, Canada, and our Tundra Connections webcasts, which reach more than 200,000 people around the world every year. Learn more

Photo: Emily Ringer / Polar Bears International

Climate Alliance Training

In 2023, you made it possible for us to share tested messaging on polar bears, sea ice, and climate change with 19 zoo professionals from 3 countries, bringing the total to 237 graduates. The 7-month course empowers participants to communicate effectively on climate change, helping to move the dial in their communities.  Discover more

Photo: Shervin Hess / Oregon Zoo

Innovative Technology

Because of you, we successfully wrapped up our Burr on Fur study, testing these new “stick on” tracking tags with the help of 15 Arctic Ambassador Center zoos and 3 government and academic partners. The tags are now ready for use with wild bears — giving researchers a valuable new tracking tool for adult male and young polar bears, two little-studied groups.

Policy Meetings

Your generosity enabled us to take part in 3 important international policy spaces: the Arctic Circle Assembly, the Polar Bear Range States Meeting, and COP28 — where we strengthened our networks and spoke up for polar bears. We also met with government agencies and shared 6 COP28 accreditation badges with Indigenous and youth leaders. Read our Q&A

Photo: Emily Ringer

Arctic Inspiration

Thanks to you, we touched hearts and minds through our live Polar Bear, Northern Lights, and Beluga Cams in partnership with, highlighting the Arctic and its wildlife and inspiring people to care. In 2023, these windows into the Arctic received over 1.8 million views from around the world, including over 54,500 views on archived YouTube videos alone! See our cams

Photo: Shervin Hess / Oregon Zoo

Global Media Reach

In a world of misinformation, you helped us cut through the noise with accurate, science-based facts on polar bears, sea ice, and climate change — through our website, social media, outside publications, and other outreach. In 2023, we were featured in 3,520 unique media with an estimated reach of 5.4 billion people. Explore more

Photo: Jenny Wong