Giant polar bear roams streets of London for Greenpeace Arctic campaign

By Ben Miller | 10 September 2013

A “super-puppet” the size of a double-decker bus, manned by 15 puppeteers and hauled by 20 volunteers, will roam the streets of London issuing guttural rumblings, the sound of ice cracking and the bellow of animals this weekend.

A photo of an enormous mechanical bear next to a large red bus and a woman smiling
Aurora the marionette bear is about to visit London© Kristian Buus / Greenpeace
Aurora the three tonne Polar bear will join a parade of Arctic carnival performers on a tour of famous sites around the capital on Sunday. Inspired by steampunk fashion, Christopher Kelly’s design, commissioned as part of Greenpeace’s Save the Arctic campaign, is part-bear, part-ship.

“We think that when Londoners see Aurora they’re going to be blown away,” reckons Hannah Davey, from the group.

“Anybody who came down to the Mall to see the Sultan’s Elephant will definitely want to be in town as she’s pulled past some of the most famous landmarks in the world.

“The journey of this bear is going to be that much more poignant because she’ll carry in her fur the names of the millions of people who’ve joined the campaign to save the Arctic.”

Pulleys will lift the bear’s legs in a recreation of the gait of a mammal, with her fur covered in rigging, portholes, sails and a ship’s wheel. Her head, jaw and eyes can move, open and roll.

Kelly, a winner of the Dazed and Confused Fashion in Film award, has consulted Alexander McQueen collaborator Simon Costin on the animalistic blueprints, as well as manufacturers Factory Settings, who have worked for the likes of Lady Gaga and the London 2012 closing ceremony.

Thousands of supporters will follow the bear on Greenpeace’s global day of action.

“When we began this campaign to defend the Arctic just over a year ago, our aim was to engage people across the world,” says campaigner Sara Ayech, who will join the procession.

“The sheer weight of numbers who have signed up to support us shows that people across the globe don’t want the Arctic put at risk.

“That is why tens of thousands of people will come onto the streets across the world on Sunday and demand that the international community makes the Arctic an internationally protected region.”

  • Parade takes place September 15 2013. Visit greenpeace.org.uk/aurora for full details, and use the hashtag #aurora on Twitter.

More pictures:

A photo of an enormous mechanical bear next to a large red bus and a woman smiling
© Kristian Buus / Greenpeace
A photo of an enormous mechanical bear next to a large red bus and a woman smiling
© Kristian Buus / Greenpeace
A photo of an enormous mechanical bear next to a large red bus and a woman smiling
© Kristian Buus / Greenpeace
A photo of an enormous mechanical bear next to a large red bus and a woman smiling
© Kristian Buus / Greenpeace
A photo of an enormous mechanical bear next to a large red bus and a woman smiling
© Kristian Buus / Greenpeace
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