Stories
© Elisabeth Kruger/WWF-US
2019 conservation wins for the Arctic

2019 is coming to an end and it’s time to look back and assess the progress we made this year.

There have been successes in protecting some crucial areas for conservation. We have also made some strides in working towards protecting marine wildlife from underwater noise.

Let’s take a moment to look back on some big wins from 2019.

© WWF/Clive Tesar
1.

Tuvaijuittuq in the Canadian High Arctic: Plans moved forward to protect an area about the size of Germany. Tuvaijuittuq is an interim Marine Protected Area vitally important for the Arctic.

WWF-Canada looks forward to seeing Tuvaijuittuq join the nearby Tallurutiup Imanga national marine conservation area, formerly known as Lancaster Sound, to create a massive safe habitat for Arctic wildlife and the Inuit communities they sustain.

2.

The Dvina-Pinega Nature Reserve in Russia: After 17 years of advocacy from WWF-Russia and other environmental organizations this reserve will protect 300 000 hectares of rapidly disappearing Northern taiga or boreal forest – the last large range of intact forests in Europe.

An intact forest is a large area of forest that has not had any significant human activity. These forests are disappearing quickly, and experts estimate that Russia could lose all of them by the end of the century if they are not properly protected.

© Igor Shpilenok\WWF-Russia
© VDOS Global/WWF-Canada
3.

Protecting Arctic marine life from underwater noise: Tens of thousands of you signed our petition urging governments to protect Arctic whales from underwater noise. Thanks to your support, we are now working with governments, the Arctic Council and other international organizations to explore how to limit underwater noise in the region.

Underwater noise pollution makes it difficult for whales to communicate. Whales sing, click and whistle to locate food, raise their calves and find mates. Therefore, it’s very important that we work together to limit underwater noise.

Sign our petition today!

4.

Protecting Atlantic walrus from ship noise: This is another noisy win! In March 2019, thanks to WWF-Canada and WWF-Russia, the Nenets Autonomous Okrug (NAO) government took steps to protect Atlantic walrus from ship noise in Russia’s Pechora sea.

Like whales and many other marine wildlife, Atlantic walrus are very susceptible to noise. They like to rest on-shore, this makes them vulnerable to noise from tourists, low-level aircrafts and passing ships.

In 2020, it’s important that we work towards limiting noise throughout the Arctic and protecting Arctic wildlife, especially as the Arctic becomes more accessible to ships due to disappearing ice.

© Mikhail Cherkasov/WWF-Russia
© Peter Ewins/WWF-Canada
5.

Less investment in Arctic drilling: Just last week, Goldman Sach’s decided to stop funding drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Some other large international banks have also said they will not fund exploration in the refuge including the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Significant oil reserves lie in the Arctic. As we move into a new decade, sustainability must be prioritized over exploitation. We need to transition towards 100% renewable energy. Governments need to finance renewable energy in the Arctic and create a better future for people and nature.