The Manitoba government has introduced legislation that would designate the polar bear as an official provincial emblem, Premier Kelvin Goertzen announced today.
“Northern Manitoba is known internationally for its polar bears, tourists come from around the globe to see and learn about these majestic animals in their natural habitat in Churchill,” said Goertzen. “Recognizing the polar bear as an official symbol of Manitoba would help build on our province’s brand as the ‘polar bear capital of the world’ and a must-see, one-of-a-kind tourism attraction for visitors of all ages.”
Manitoba’s tourism industry is a key contributor to the provincial economy and polar bears represent a significant draw to tourists from across the country and around the world, the premier noted.
Manitoba has already made significant investments to protect polar bears and their natural habitat with the creation of the Polar Bear Protection Act as well as providing significant financial support for the creation of the Leatherdale International Polar Bear Conservation Centre at Assiniboine Park Zoo.
Bill 76, the Coat of Arms, Emblems and the Manitoba Tartan Amendment Act would designate the polar bear as an official provincial emblem to recognize the important role the polar bear currently plays as an internationally recognized symbol of Manitoba.
The polar bear would become the second official mammalian emblem of Manitoba. In 2014, the North American plains bison was officially recognized as a mammal emblem. In addition to the polar bear and plains bison, Manitoba currently recognizes the great grey owl, pickerel, white spruce, prairie crocus, big bluestem grass, Newdale soil and the mosasaur as official natural emblems.
(Province of MB News Release)