The Foundation (YWPF) plays a crucial role in climate change education and awareness and contributed to the efforts of the Climate Change Specialist Group which won the accolade.

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News of the  award comes during Polar Bear Week, which started  on Monday, and celebrates the species but warns that two-thirds of the planet’s polar bears could disappear before the end of the century if climate change is not reversed.

YWPF is based at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, which is home to four polar bears and has become a significant force in conservation projects to save the species from the devastating impact of melting sea ice.

It funded the scientists responsible for a landmark report on species’ vulnerability which resulted in the group winning a citation of excellence from the species Survival Commission (SSC), part of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Meanwhile, Wendy Foden from the SSC won the individual “George Rabb Award for Conservation Innovation.” She was nominated by fellow SSC members for outstanding innovation and creativity in species conservation.

The award was received during the SSL leaders meeting in Abu Dhabi last month and is given to those recognised in delivering transformational advances in conservation theory and practices and includes a prize of $5000.

““We are overjoyed with the awards. It’s great to see the work we have contributed to be at the forefront of the public eye. It’s also wonderful seeing Wendy’s efforts become recognised in a global award,” said Cheryl Williams, YWPF trustee.

She added:” Climate change is real and we are determined to do our part, and we hope that everyone  will join us in making this a priority.

“Visitors love the park’s polar bears and everyone wants to ensure the species is around for future generations. But we have to work quickly and collectively to save them.”

The award-winning park, at Branton, near Doncaster, is home to Victor, Pixel, Nissan and Nobby who live on the ten-acre Project Polar reserve, which is an international centre for research and education about the plight of polar bears and the global risks from climate change.

YWPF has been involved with the IUCN for more than five years in establishing a route map for environmental change and the winning report will help conservation campaigners and enhance projects to protect the environment.  It also encourages the younger generation to champion sustainability and to find better ways to provide food for a growing population.

The SSC, the largest of IUCN’s six volunteer commissions and has around 7,500 experts, advises IUCN and its members on the wide range or technical and scientific aspects of species conversation and is dedicated to securing future for biodiversity. It has significant input into the international agreements with dealing with biodiversity conservation.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park