YOU wait a lifetime for a polar bear to float down the Thames and then two turn up on the same day.

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A mother and baby of the north pole species are taking a trip on the river today to alert us to the effects of global warming on their natural habitat, namely the incredibly shrinking polar ice-caps.

It is fair to say the pair aren’t strictly speaking real, in the sense of having a heart-beat and wanting to chase humans – they are sculptures – but the threat to their homeland is real enough. According to many climate change boffins, the ice-caps are likely to be gone by the end of this century.

Measuring 20ft by 20ft and weighing in at 1.5 tonnes, the sculpture took a team of 15 artists two months to build and is part of the launch publicity for Eden, a new digital TV channel devoted to natural history and the natural world.

“The melting of the polar bears’ sea-ice habitat is one of the most pressing environmental concerns of our time,” said legendary TV natural historian Sir David Attenborough.

“I commend Eden for highlighting the issue; we need to do what we can to protect the world’s largest land carnivores from extinction.”

He didn’t say that if the ice-caps melt, real polar bears will be swimming down the Thames in their thousands, ready to wreak a terrifying revenge on humanity, but that’s what he meant, probably.

Eden’s programming starts at 9am, Monday 26th January 2009, with Attenborough Explores…Our Fragile World at 10pm. Further information about the programmes can be found at: