Ice bared in Australia to raise polar plight

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The Independent Online

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 on Friday.

A whopping four metres (13 feet) high and 2.2 metres wide, the bear was carved from a ten-tonne block of ice on the city's harbourfront 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 harbour.

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."

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.