AUSTRALIA (ENDANGERED SPECIES) It’s one thing to hear about dwindling polar bear numbers or  to watch a videos of white bear cubs struggling to find solid ground in a swell of arctic waves. But it’s an entirely different matter to witness the 13-foot sculpture of a polar bear, carved from ice, melting beneath the heat of a palm tree. The ice bear isn’t just a pretty statue, however — it’s a very serious piece of metaphoric artwork, the proceeds of which go to help an undeniably noble cause. — Global Animal

Discovery News

Photo Credit: Getty Images

June 3, 2011 — A huge ice sculpture of a polar bear designed to raise awareness about global warming and the plight of the endangered creature was unveiled in Sydney.

A whopping four meters (13 feet) high and 2.2 meters wide, the bear was carved from a 10-ton block of ice on the city’s harborfront and will melt over three to four days, revealing a bronze sculpture of its skeleton.

Now on its sixth global stop since being launched by British artist Mark Coreth in 2009, the bear was whittled into shape in the pre-dawn hours after a giant crane dropped the ice beside the harbor.

Bypassers can pay Aus$2 to touch the creature, feeling “the ice melting under your hand,” said Coreth, who hopes to raise awareness about global warming and its effect on polar bears, an endangered species.

“This is the human impact,” he said. “When the ice goes from the ice bear, there will always be a bear, but it will be very different bear. It will be a skeleton, a pool of water, and a powerful message.”

Photo Credit: Bob Strong/Reuters

Aurora Expeditions, one of the project’s local sponsors, said arctic temperatures increased annually at almost twice the rate of anywhere else, causing the melting of sea ice cover — the habitat of polar bears and other animals.

Funds raised will go to the World Wildlife Fund, Australian Youth Climate Coalition and One Million Women, a campaign of “daughters, mothers sisters and grandmothers” working to reduce carbon pollution.

Ice bear has previously appeared in Copenhagen, London, Montreal, Toronto and Manchester.