Canon Europe, leader in imaging solutions, is sponsoring a WWF and Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) expedition to the islands of Svalbard above the Arctic Circle, as part of its role as Conservation Imaging Partner of WWF International. Setting off tomorrow, the NPI and WWF-Canon expedition aims to collect critical data about Europe's most westerly polar bear population.
During the Svalbard expedition, the team of researchers will undertake two specific missions: to place satellite collars on polar bears so that their routes can be tracked over the next year and to scout for new denning areas on islands in the Svalbard peninsula.
Completion of these tasks will help the scientists to assess the response of polar bears to climate change, and to understand if there will be anywhere for the bears to den in the future, following a recent report that the area could be completely free of summer sea ice by 2050.
Canon imaging equipment will be used by the expedition team to capture the experience and record events. Swedish wildlife photographer and Canon Ambassador Brutus Östling will also accompany the scientists to capture images of the wildlife they encounter along the way and document the expedition.
"Canon has a longstanding partnership with WWF, supporting a number of important Arctic expeditions and helping WWF to record the state of the environment," commented Cyprian da Costa, Brand Communications Director, Canon Europe. "The images captured in Svalbard will play a fundamental role in the research undertaken on this expedition and help promote the vital work being carried out by WWF to raise awareness of the challenges that polar bears are facing in a world ever-more affected by climate change."
Geoff York, Polar Bear Lead, WWF International Lead, commented: "Canon's support for these expeditions is invaluable; we are delighted to be working together to highlight how the changing ice conditions are impacting the polar bear populations and how they breed. The photographs and video footage truly bring our work to life and help us to highlight these changes to a global audience."
The Svalbard trip is the third Arctic research expedition that Canon has supported. In 2012, the expedition travelling from Greenland through Canada's High Arctic to the Last Ice Area was designed to assess the future management options for that area. In 2013, researchers travelled to the Taimyr Peninsula in the Laptev Sea to collect genetic material to confirm the theory of existence of unique subspecies of the Laptev walrus population.
Canon Europe has been a conservation partner of WWF International since 1998. The continued partnership demonstrates Canon Europe's dedication to a sustainable future in which humans live in harmony with the natural world. The partnership includes support for a range of initiatives, including continued sponsorship of the WWF-Canon Global Photo Networkand photography training for WWF employees.