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Hope Spot - Spitsbergen Island: protect polar bears

About Hope Spot - Spitsbergen Island: protect polar bears
Spitsbergen (formerly known as West Spitsbergen or Vestspitsbergen in Norwegian) is the largest and only permanently populated island of Norway’s Svalbard Archipelago. Constituting the westernmost bulk of the archipelago, the island borders the Arctic Ocean, Norwegian Sea, and Greenland Sea. Spitsbergen covers an area of 39,044 km2 (15,075 sq mi), making it the largest island in Norway and the 36th-largest in the world. The island was first used as a whaling base in the 17th and 18th centuries, after which it was abandoned. Coal mining started at the end of the 19th century, establishing several permanent communities. The island has an Arctic climate, although with significantly higher temperatures than other places at the same latitude. Adorned with glaciers, mountains and fjords, Svalbard is a breeding ground for many seabirds and supports polar bears (the iconic symbol of Spitsbergen), reindeer and numerous marine mammals. Spitsbergen shares a common polar bear population with the rest of Svalbard and Franz Joseph Land. About 30 mostly migratory bird species are found on the island, including little auk, northern fulmar, thick-billed murre and blacklegged kittiwake. Sixteen of these species are on the IUCN Red List. Six national parks protect the largely untouched yet fragile environment, along with the Festningen Geotope Protected Area and Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve. The island is on Norway’s tentative list for nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
About Mission Blue
Mission Blue is an initiative of the Sylvia Earle Alliance to ignite public support for the protection of Hope Spots through the creation of a global network of marine protected areas to safeguard 20% of the ocean by 2020.