Along the western edge of Hudson Bay, where the only good population data for the Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) have been collected, an estimated 22 percent decline has been observed since the mid-1980s. This has been attributed to an earlier seasonal sea-ice break-up. Whether or not this is the primary cause, the danger is clear and real and the quest to quickly find effective means to lessen the downward trend has made the polar bear an icon for the urgency of conveying what we are learning about ecosystems services at risk in the arctic and beyond, and "how we might adapt our management approach" to pending changes.
As the artist notes: "So beautiful, and the condition of their habitat so at risk. No matter the reason for their decline, we must try to reverse it. In that reversal may lie the key to the survival of others sharing their environment."