By Ron Thiessen, Executive Director of CPAWS Manitoba
This letter was originally posted on October 18, 2021, in the Winnipeg Free Press’ Letters to the Editor.
Re: Time to make skeeters Manitoba’s official insect (Oct. 13)
It’s wonderful the polar bear has been recognized as an official emblem of Manitoba. I sincerely hope the provincial government follows with protection efforts for this at-risk species and the habitats it needs to survive.
Polar bears are under intense stress as climate change melts the sea ice they depend upon to hunt. Mining companies have staked claims near areas where mother bears dig their dens. We must protect the lands they depend upon to raise their young and rest during increasingly long summers; otherwise we risk losing this world-class treasure and the tourism opportunities that go along with it.
As executive director of the Manitoba chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, I encourage the Manitoba government to reinvigorate the stalled process to create a large Polar Bear Provincial Park. I also very much hope the provincial government is supportive of the regional First Nations that are commendably working to establish Indigenous protected and conserved areas in polar bear country.