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May 20, 2008

Bush Administration Lists the Polar Bear as a Threatened Species

Burke Museum to highlight global warming, polar bears in national premiere, The Last Polar Bear: Facing the Truth of a Warming World (June 28 - Dec. 31, 2008)

Seattle– The United States Interior Department announced on May 14, 2008 that the polar bear, the largest living land carnivore on earth, has been granted threatened species status under the Endangered Species Act. This decision comes as Arctic sea ice, on which polar bears hunt and live throughout the year, is rapidly shrinking due to global warming. There are currently between 20,000-25,000 polar bears living in the Arctic.

A timely wildlife photography exhibit will premiere this summer at the Burke Museum that explores many of the issues at stake with the Interior Department’s recent announcement.The exhibit will launch in Seattle and then go on a national tour. Forty large-scale images by acclaimed Seattle-based photographer Steven Kazlowski document the annual life cycle of the iconic polar bear and offer a vivid visual representation of the shrinking ice pack in the Arctic.

To supplement Kazlowski’s photography, the exhibit will also premiere Alaskan filmmaker Arthur C. Smith’sIce Bears of the Beaufort, a short documentary
providing a portrait of wild polar bear behavior.

The Last Polar Bear: Facing the Truth of a Warming World is organized by the Burke Museum, in partnership with Braided River, the conservation imprint of The Mountaineers Books. Major sponsorship was provided by Tom and Sonya Campion, the Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, and the Peach Foundation. Additional support has been provided by The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, The Boeing Company, King County Library System (Partners in Learning), Kongsgaard Goldman Foundation, The Mountaineers Foundation (Carl Skoog Memorial Fund), and The Norcliffe Foundation.

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