Dart thrown at map becomes polar bear mission
Two Canadians are set to leave for the North Pole on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011 to help raise money for polar bears. They launched PolarFaith.com to help raise money.
Erin DeCoste, ctvtoronto.ca
Published Wednesday, December 21, 2011 6:10AM EST
Two young Canadian adventurers are bundling up in parkas and embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime trip chosen from the throw of a dart.
Sorin Mihailovici and Matt Cook, both from Edmonton, will be leaving on Wednesday to the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard – a group of islands with more polar bears than humans.
"We decided to throw a dart at a map and go wherever it landed, no matter how far or difficult it would be," Mihailovici told CTV Toronto. "And then let's make an opportunity out of it. Let's do something for that land or the people there."
It is estimated that three-quarters of the polar bear population worldwide will die in the next 50 years, Mihailovici said.
Mihailovici and Cook decided that in a land where polar bears were still plentiful, they would raise money in conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund for the at-risk animals.
The two launched a website on Monday, www.polarfaith.com, where interested people can donate money. Their goal is to donate $5 from each donation to the WWF.
Mihailovici said that every donation not only helps a polar bear, but the donor gets something back.
For a $40 donation, donors get a message from the North Pole by Cook and Mihailovici and heating pads. For $400, purchasers can get a song to a loved one, a call asking for a promotion to a boss, a peacemaking call to disgruntled family members and heating pads.
Mihailovici said that the biggest package, worth $1,000, will net the donor a professional commercial shot by the two in the North Pole, a one-night stay in the Rockies, an "adopted" polar bear, heating pads and a one-on-one with Mihailovici and Cook.
There is also the option to make a pay-what-you-can donation.
"We didn't want to ask for money for nothing," Mihailovici said. "We wanted to return the favour."
While in the Svalbard islands, the two plan to shoot footage for a future documentary and try to meet every single person in the community.
"We've made a goal to meet everyone on the islands, all 2,000 people," he said. "We're there for Christmas and it's a big holiday there."
Their goal is to raise at least $5 for each polar bear in the world, which is about 20,000 to 25,000, according to WWF.
Before the duo hits the road, however, they still need to raise at least $14,000. With a total bill of $20,000 for the trip, Mihailovici said that more is needed to make sure the journey is a success.
He said they're also still looking for a travel agency to help sponsor the adventurers.