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Feb. 27: polar bear researcher to discuss climate change

Feb 25, 2013

Renowned polar bear scientist Andrew Derocher, Ph.D., is making a special trip to the Louisville Zoo in celebration of International Polar Bear Day on February 27. A leading polar bear researcher and author of “Polar Bears: A Complete Guide to Their Biology and Behavior,” Derocher will discuss the fate of an Arctic icon, the polar bear, at Bellarmine University on Wednesday, February 27, at 7 p.m. The free event takes place in the George G. Brown Center's Frazier Hall (in building #5 on this map).

Derocher's book will be available for $20 in the Zoo’s gift shop prior to the event. Lecture attendees can make a minimum donation of $20 to The Louisville Zoo for its animal conservation fund, and receive a copy of Dr. Derocher’s book.

The lecture is sponsored by the Louisville Zoo and Bellarmine University's new School of Environmental Studies. This new school will produce graduates who are prepared to provide leadership in fields such as environmental engineering, education, law, public policy, conservation, international development and corporate sustainability, in addition to research careers.

About the Speaker
Derocher recently released a synopsis of an current paper he co-authored with 11 other international authors titled "Rapid Ecosystem Change and Polar Bear Conservation." The paper urges policy makers to be ready with conservation and management plans for polar bears in a worst-case climate change scenario. Derocher and the others have studied the effect of climate change on polar bear populations and the paper points out that one bad ice year could leave hundreds of Hudson Bay polar bears stranded on land and says that "such an event could erase half of a population in a single year."

Derocher is a professor of biology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and a longtime scientific advisor to Polar Bears International (PBI). He holds a B.S. from the University of British Columbia (1983), a M.S. from the University of Alberta (1987), and a Ph.D. from the University of Alberta (1991). His field research focuses on polar bears in the Canadian Arctic and the polar bears of Hudson Bay. He has also worked with polar bears in Svalbard, Norway, through the Norwegian Polar Institute. Over the course of more than 20 years studying polar bears, Derocher's research has focused on the limiting and regulating factors of polar bear populations including habitat use, harvest effects, and predator-prey relationships. His current work includes assessment of the effects of climate change and toxic chemicals on polar bears.

About the Zoo
The Louisville Zoo, a non-profit organization and state zoo of Kentucky, is dedicated to bettering the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. The Zoo is accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM) and by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

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