School children receive Pole to Pole educational pack at Ouwehand Zoo #PullthePlug #PoletoPole

On Earth Day 2014 yesterday, Ouwehand Zoo hosted the Dutch launch of the EAZA Pole to Pole Campaign. Adventurer and explorer Bamboo Bill, known from the Dutch children television show ‘Ouwehands Jungle Club’ provided the impetus for the launch on behalf of Ouwehand Zoo and the other participating Dutch zoos.


A class of schoolchildren and their teacher was invited to join the event. Right after the opening speech by José Kok, Pole to Pole Campaign Chair, Bamboo Bill performed in a spectacular show emphasizing the importance of reducing energy consumption. After the show was finished the children went to the Polar Bear exhibit. In front of the swimming polar bears José Kok and Bamboo Bill handed a brand new Pole to Pole Campaign educational package to the class.

front cover_klimaat lespakket_400

This attractive and informative package highlights the issues and problems connected with global warming. It is especially designed for schoolchildren in the age class 10-12 years and comes together with an instruction booklet for teachers. You can download a Dutch version for free here. An English version will follow soon. The package is also available as an open source document so that it can be translated into any language and edited if required.

After the handover the children threw, under the auspices of an animal keeper, fresh trout into the polar bear exhbit. When the bucket of fish was empty the children went to Ouwehand’s educational centre where they registered their collective pledge to pull the plug of electronic devices when not in use.


The visit of the school kids to Ouwehand has been recorded and will be televised in Bamboo Bills’ ‘Ouwehands Jungle Club’ on Dutch national TV soon. Let’s hope this will inspire other children and parents to start pulling the plug too!

Action of the Day at Nordens Ark, Sweden #PoletoPole #Pulltheplug #EnvironmentalResponsibility

At Nordens Ark in Sweden, as with most zoos, environmental concern is at the core of their work. Nordens Ark was founded with the objective of preserving biodiversity and they aim to achieve this primarily by breeding and reintroducing threatened species, combined with research and education. One vital aspect of conservation is obviously the preservation and improvement of the habitats where the species live, we can contribute to this by living consciously and by making profound changes in the way we live.


When Nordens Ark enthusiastically joined the campaign it was their goal to influence as many people as possible to make changes in their daily lives thereby reducing the negative impact on the environment. There are so many easy actions one could start with, saving energy, reducingconsumption etc. so the Nordens Ark campaign team (Emma Nygren, Eva Andersson and Karin Larsson) decided to arrange them into what they call ‘Action of the Day’.

Pull the plug

Every day in 2014 Nordens Ark presents a new ‘Action’ on their social media platforms including Facebook; for example pulling the plug of the mobile phone charger, recycling waste, taking the bike to work and so forth. All of these actions generate a positive impact on the environment, and in many cases also on peoples’ budget. Nordens Ark encourages everyone to join and to take action for the environment!

Many other zoos and aquariums in Sweden have been inspired to join EAZA’s Pole to Pole campaign after taking part in the ‘Actions of the Day’. This initiative by Nordens Ark has received lots of enthusiasm and positive remarks from both staff and the public.

New IPCC report: “Things are worse than we had predicted” #pulltheplug #poletopole

Climate change is impacting every facet of human civilization from our ability to grow enough crops to our ability to get along with each other, according to a new 2,300-page report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The massive report, from the Nobel Prize-winning body, states definitively that climate change is already affecting human societies on every continent, including decreasing agricultural output, worsening access to freshwater, exacerbating extreme weather, acidifying the oceans, and adding the risk of internecine conflict.

“Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,” said Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC, at a press conference. This IPCC report—focused on the impacts of climate change—is the second in a series of documents published by the group recently.

Debris in Tacloban, Philippines after devastating Typhoon Haiyan. Photo by: Trocaire/Creative Commons 2.0

Debris in Tacloban, Philippines after devastating Typhoon Haiyan. Photo by: Trocaire/Creative Commons 2.0

The UN noted earlier this month that the world will have to produce 60 percent more food by 2050 due to population growth (from seven billion today to a projected nine billion in 35 years) and changing diets of the wealthy, including greater consumption of meat and dairy both of which also come with higher carbon footprints.

“Climate change is acting as a brake,” said Michael Oppenheimer, an author of the IPCC report. “We need yields to grow to meet growing demand, but already climate change is slowing those yields.”

“Throughout the 21st century, climate change impacts will slow down economic growth and poverty reduction, further erode food security, and trigger new poverty traps, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hotspots of hunger,” reads the report. The poorest will likely be hit hardest, say the scientists, but the world’s rich will not be immune either.

“Things are worse than we had predicted,” Saleemul Huq, an author on the report, told the Associated Press, referring to the last report on climate impacts in 2007. “We are going to see more and more impacts, faster and sooner than we had anticipated.” Scientists have already been taken aback by the rapidity at which the Arctic Ocean is losing its sea ice, and by the pace at which some species are migrating.

While global human society—and the natural world on which it depends—are already facing significant changes due to global warming, the report stresses that the level of risk humans face in the future will be determined by efforts to decrease greenhouse gas emissions today.

Europe's largest coal-fired power plant in Bełchatów, Poland. Photo by: Stasisław/Public Domain.

Europe’s largest coal-fired power plant in Bełchatów, Poland. Photo by: Stasisław/Public Domain.

“This report tells us that we have two clear choices: cut emissions now and invest in adaption—and have a world that has challenging and just barely manageable risks; or do nothing and face a world of devastating and unmanageable risks and impacts,” said Samantha Smith, leader of the WWF Global Climate & Energy Initiative, adding, “we still have time to act. We can limit climate instability and adapt to some of the changes we see now. But without immediate and specific action, we are in danger of going far beyond the limits of adaptation.”

Source: Apocalypse now? Climate change already damaging agriculture, acidifying seas, and worsening extreme weather (

How to get zoo staff and visitors to Pull the plug #Poletopole #pulltheplug

The past month many pledges tied to Blackpool Zoo have been registered on the Pole to Pole Campaign website. How come?


The Education staff at Blackpool Zoo set up an area in the main entrance which was manned by staff during morning and afternoon hours. In the area a white ‘Christmas’ tree, a large cardboard cut out Polar bear, and some of the Pole to Pole Campaign posters has been put up.

Blackpool Zoo used the tree as a ‘Pledge tree’, where people could write their pledge on some snowflake cards and then hang it on the tree. The staff manning the display also has an iPad with the campaign website open, so that anyone who stopped to talk could sign up and make their pledge there and then.


Visitors who showed interest but didn’t want to stop were handed cards with a little campaign information and the campaign website address so that they could sign up at home. Blackpool encouraged people to share their pledge onto the Blackpool Zoo Facebook page.

Through Blackpool’s ‘Green Team’ which is in place to discuss and implement sustainable practices all managers were given a presentation on the campaign, and encouraged them to pass information onto their staff. Hopefully all staff across the zoo become involved.

Pole to Pole inspiration from Riga Zoo #PoletoPole #Pulltheplug

As a committed campaign participant Riga Zoo started to replace their light bulbs with more environmental friendly LED lights, the replacement and installation work was completed two months ago.


In addition to this Riga Zoo also adjusted the time when lights were on, the time of sunset was taken into account and as such lights were swicthed off when there was still plenty of daylight in the zoo. Comparing to January 2013, Riga Zoo managed to reduce their electricity consumption by 8%.

Last month, as a part of the Tropical Month 2014, creative ‘do-it-yourself’ workshops were organised at the zoo. The basic idea was to show people how to live a green life and how to use resources sustainably. Creating useful things by reusing PET bottles fascinated not only the zoo workers but also the visitors:


  • ‘Winter treat for birds’ – Bird feeders were made during the workshop and placed around the zoo. Soon after, they were frequently visited by tits, nuthatches and sparrows, thus, delivering an educational and inspiring message to passersby.
  • ‘Tadpole kindergarden’ – After listening to a short lecture and watching an educational video on the specifics of breeding endangered amphibian species in the zoo, the visitors made containers for poison dart frog tadpoles from plastic bottles. When making tadpole containers, people asked many questions about the amphibian lifestyle, tadpole development, the threats amphibians face in the wild and the role of zoos in breeding the endangered species.
  • ‘Bottle window farm’ – you can create containers out of PET bottles and use it to grow grow salad, rucola and parsley. Among the particpants a discussion started about healthy lifestyle and the importance of healthy food for both animals and people.

Riga Zoo also collaborated with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Miljo Papers on spreading the ideas of the Pole to Pole Campaign:

  • Zoo visitors were invited by the WWF to participate in the educational workshop ‘Living a Climate Friendly Lifestyle’ by estimating the impact of their lifestyle on the environment. In Latvia, a person creates on average 5.14 tonnes of CO2 per year, which almost doubles the GHG emission limit of 3 tonnes of CO2e per year per person. By participating in the workshop visitors were made aware of their carbon footprint and what they can do to lower it.


  • Miljō Papers organized the educational workshop ‘Paper from Paper’. In the workshop, paper was made from advertising leaflets and magazines found in letter boxes. Riga Zoo will use this paper to make reminder signs ‘Be a Friend – Pull the Plug!’ that are going to be placed around the zoo to encourage both zoo personnel and visitors to save energy.

Polar Bear Day at Munich’s Hellabrunn Zoo, Germany #Pulltheplug #Poletopole

The celebration of International Polar Bear Day (February 20th) and the recent birth of twin polar bear cubs at EAZA Pole to Pole Campaign participant Hellabrunn Zoo offered an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about global warming. The now world-famous twin cubs attracted many visitors and generated great interest in the fate of their fellow species in the wild. Starting this week, visitors will be able to gain an exclusive peek inside the home of the young polar bear family every weekend and bank holiday.

Approximately 50 visitors gathered inside the Conservation Centre at Hellabrunn Zoo, eyes transfixed to the screen, the atmosphere at times so silent you can hear hearts beat. The reason for this hushed reverence is the presence of the biggest stars of the zoo: the eleven-week-old polar bear twins and mother Giovanna can be seen live on the big screen, broadcast directly from their den.

Internationaler Eisbärentag_Besucher im Artenschutzzentrum_Hellabrunn_2014

“It was the first time that visitors were able to experience such an exclusive glimpse inside the bedroom of a young polar bear family,” said zoo director Dr Andreas Knieriem. “Many of the visitors only came here for this reason. And as the zoo is donating one euro for every visitor to a WWF polar bear patrol in Siberia, also the will be delighted. Although Polar Bear Day fell on a Thursday, outside the school holidays, we were able to raise € 1,502 for a good cause.”


Polar Bear Day raised awareness around the world on the plight of polar bears in the wild, who are threatened primarily by climate change and the reduction of their habitat. The rise to stardom of the little ones should help to shed light on these problems. Apart from the screen, the Conservation Centre has an information booth and volunteers to offer visitors advice on what they can do personally to protect polar bears. Anyone can take his/her responsibility to halt global warming by registering your pledge to unplug electronic devices when not in use.

Watch the moment the 33-day old bear cubs opened their eyes for the first time on video here

European Parliament calls on a 40% cut in CO2 emissions by 2030 #PullThePlug #EnergyConservation

Yesterday MEPs called for a 40% cut in CO2 emissions, a 30% target for renewable energy and a 40% target for energy efficiency by 2030, under the EU’s new long-term climate-change policy.

Parliament calls on the Commission and EU countries, in its resolution adopted on Wednesday by 341 votes to 263, with 26 abstentions, to set a 2030 EU target to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% from 1990 levels. It also wants an energy efficiency target of 40%, in line with research on the cost-effective potential, and a commitment to producing at least 30% of total final energy consumption from renewable energy sources. These targets should be binding, MEPs say, and implemented through individual national targets, taking account of each member state’s situation and potential.

Solar panels (Photo: Fernando Tomás)

Solar panels (Photo: Fernando Tomás)

Despite the fact the resolution has been adopted we should certainly not wait until 2030 with reducing CO2 emissions. It’s time to act now! The Pole to Pole campaign calls on everyone to start pulling the plug today and to reduce energy consumption now. Take part in this endeavour and register your pledge to pull the plug here. It’s your planet: pull the plug!

Source: European Parliament News

Deaths attributed directly to climate change cast pall over penguins #PullThePlug #Penguin

Climate change is killing penguin chicks from the world’s largest colony of Magellanic penguins, not just indirectly – by depriving them of food, as has been repeatedly documented for these and other seabirds – but directly as a result of drenching rainstorms and, at other times, heat, according to new findings from the University of Washington.

Too big for parents to sit over protectively, but still too young to have grown waterproof feathers, downy penguin chicks exposed to drenching rain can struggle and die of hypothermia in spite of the best efforts of their concerned parents. And during extreme heat, chicks without waterproofing can’t take a dip in cooling waters as adults can.

Magellanic Penguin (Photo: Guglielmo Celata)

Magellanic Penguin (Photo: Guglielmo Celata)

The new results span 27 years of data collected in Argentina under the direction of Dee Boersma, UW biology professor, with the support of the Wildlife Conservation Society, the UW, the Office of Turismo in Argentina’s Chubut Province, the Global Penguin Society and the La Regina family. Boersma is lead author of a paper on the findings in the Jan. 29 issue of PLOS ONE.

“It’s the first long-term study to show climate change having a major impact on chick survival and reproductive success,” said Boersma, who has led field work since 1983 at the world’s largest breeding area for Magellanic penguins, about halfway up the Atlantic coast of Argentina at Punta Tombo, where 200,000 pairs reside from September through February to have their young. During a span of 27 years, an average of 65 percent of chicks died per year, with some 40 percent starving. Climate change, a relatively new cause of chick death, killed an average of 7 percent of chicks per year, but there were years when it was the most common cause of death, killing 43 percent of all chicks one year and fully half in another. Starvation and weather will likely interact increasingly as climate changes, Boersma said.

Magellanic Penguin by the sea (Photo: Guglielmo Celata)

Magellanic Penguin by the sea (Photo: Guglielmo Celata)

“Starving chicks are more likely to die in a storm,” she said. “There may not be much we can do to mitigate climate change, but steps could be taken to make sure the Earth’s largest colony of Magellanic penguins have enough to eat by creating a marine protected reserve, with regulations on fishing, where penguins forage while raising small chicks.” Also contributing to increasing deaths from climate change is the fact that, over 27 years, penguin parents have arrived to the breeding site later and later in the year, probably because the fish they eat also are arriving later, Boersma said. The later in the year chicks hatch the more likely they’ll still be in their down-covered stage when storms typically pick up in November and December.

Source: University of Wahington

Read the entire post here

New zoos joining!

More zoos and institutions joining the Pole to Pole Campaign: together we are reaching out to a fast growing international community of people and actively spreading the message of reducing our carbon footprint!

  • Zoo Boissiere (France)
  • Zoo Neuwied (Germany)
  • Rotterdam Zoo (The Netherlands)
  • Dierenpark Amersfoort (The Netherlands)
  • Zoo Zlin (Czech Republic)
  • Parc Zoologique du Muséum de Besançon (France)
  • Zoo Jihlava (Czech Republic)
  • Tula Zoo (Russia)
  • Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (USA)

Spread the word: pull the plug of electronic devices that are not in use, download pull the plug reminder stickers in multiple languages here. If you would like to join the campaign and/or register your pledge to unplug electronic devices, please go to the campaign website.   For a list of all participating institutions please click here

Zoos continue to join Pole to Pole unabatedly

The past two weeks the following zoos and institutions registered for participating in the Pole to Pole Campaign:

  • Novosibirsk zoo (Russia)
  • Zoo Ostrava (Czech Republic)
  • Lisbon Zoo (Portugal)
  • Paignton Zoo Environmental Park (United Kingdom)
  • Knuthenborg Safaripark (Denmark)
  • Blackpool Zoo (United Kingdom)
  • Decin Zoo (Czech Republic)
  • Menagerie du Jardin des Plantes (France)
  • The Living Rainforest (United Kingdom)
  • Zoomarine (Italy)
  • Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo (United Kingdom)
  • Zoo Praha (Czech Republic)
  • Dartmoor Zoological Park (United Kingdom)
  • Union of Czech and Slovak Zoos (Czech Republic)
  • West Midland Safari Park (United Kingdom)
  • IRIS – Publishing and Printing Ltd.(Slovakia)

If you would like to join the campaign and/or register your pledge to unplug electronic devices, please go to the campaign website. For a list of all participating institutions please click here