The Last Polar Bear: Facing the Truth of a Warming World

April 15 - August 28, 2011

I offer these images as witness to an iconic species and an ecosystem that may be lost to future generations if we, as a global community, do not take action now.
– Steven Kazlowski, photographer

The polar bear is an icon of the Arctic and is one of the most fascinating animals on the planet. The Burke Museum presents a nationally touring environmental photography exhibit, The Last Polar Bear: Facing the Truth of a Warming World, bringing to life the urgency of global warming's impact on the Arctic. Over 40 endearing polar bear images by accomplished wildlife photographer Steven Kazlowski document these creatures in the wild.

Kazlowski spent over eight years tracking and photographing polar bears in the Alaskan Arctic – a harsh terrain that is rarely visited and seldom photographed – documenting changes in the animals' habitat and behavior over time. Photos are taken along the Arctic coast from Canada's Hershel Island to Point Hope, Alaska.

"The exhibit will help visitors learn how changes brought about through global warming are affecting polar bears, walruses, seals and other species – including humans – that share this challenging Arctic environment," says Erin Younger, Burke Museum associate director. "Steven's compelling photographs bring to life these rugged seascapes, and the magnificent creatures that live there."

Visitors to the exhibit will follow the path of these alpha-predators, learning about the unique biology of the polar bear and the Arctic web of life to which they belong. Intimate images portray the bears' annual cycle of life from mothers with cubs, to adolescents at play, to adults on the hunt.

To supplement Kazlowski's photography, the exhibit will include Alaskan filmmaker Arthur C. Smith, III's debut of Ice Bears of the Beaufort, a short wildlife documentary that provides an intimate portrait of wild polar bear behavior. Smith's footage has been used by National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, and was included in the 2007 documentary Arctic Tale.

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