In the far frozen north of the globe off the coast of Alaska lies the Beaufort Sea, which traditionally has remained covered by ice for most of the year. Dr. Steven C. Amstrup led research on polar bears around the sea for 30 years, from 1980 to 2010. During that time he saw extreme changes in the ice cover of the sea that deeply impacted the polar bears living there. Dr. Amstrup and his team published a crucial set of papers documenting these changes that led to the listing of the polar bear as a threatened species by the US government in 2008.
Since then, he has been trying to convince the world that while polar bears are threatened, they aren’t actually doomed. His findings, published as the cover story of the December 2010 issue of Nature, confirmed that polar bears can benefit from greenhouse gas mitigation and that there is still time to take action that will save them. With his new focus on conservation, Dr. Amstrup has moved from being solely a polar bear researcher into focusing on outreach and education.
He now works for Polar Bears International, a small non-profit that is devoted to conserving polar bears and their arctic habitat. PBI works on issues such as climate change and sea ice loss that endanger polar bears by conducting research, education and action programs. Dr. Amstrup serves as the organization’s chief scientist, working with other leading scientists around the world to guide PBI on the most urgent projects to help polar bears around the Arctic.
In 2012, Dr. Amstrup was presented with the Indianapolis Prize, one of conservation’s highest awards. Since winning the prize, he has written an op ed for USA Today online and been featured on Good Morning America and NBC Nightly News.
We look forward to welcoming Dr. Steven Amstrup as a guest speaker at the 2014 Wildlife Conservation Expo.
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Learn more about Steven’s work by visiting www.polarbearsinternational.org.