American Elephants


The State of the Polar Bear, 2018 by The Elephant's Child

The State of the Polar Bear report was published on the 27th by the Global Warming Policy Foundation. It confirms that polar bears are continuing to thrive, in spite of recent reductions in sea ice levels. This finding contradicts the claims by environmentalists and some scientists that decreased levels of sea ice would wipe out declining bear populations.

The report’s author, Dr. Susan Crockford, is a world renowned expert on polar bears. She says there is now very little evidence to support the idea that the  polar bear is threatened with extinction because of climate change.

“We now know that polar bears are very resourceful creatures. They have made it through warm periods in the past and they seem to be taking the current warming in their stride too”. 

It appears now that it is the residents of the Arctic Circle who have the most to worry about. Increasing numbers of bears all year around, have meant reports of people being threatened, and even mauled, particularly from Nunavut in the far North of Canada.

Dr, Crockford explains:

The people of Nunavut are not seeing starving, desperate bears – quite the opposite. Yet polar bear specialists are saying these bears are causing problems because they don’t have enough sea ice to feed properly. The facts on the ground make their claims look silly, including the abundance of fat bears. Residents are pushing their government for a management policy that makes protection of human life the priority.”

Polar bear numbers have continued to increase slightly since 2005, although sea ice levels have been at a low level.  The predicted decline in polar bear numbers just did not happen.

  • • Despite marked declines in summer sea ice, Chukchi Sea polar bears continue to thrive: reports from the first population-size estimate for the region, performed in 2016, show bears in the region are abundant (almost 3000 individuals), healthy and reproducing well.
  • National Geographic received such a profound backlash from its widely viewed ‘this is what climate change looks like ’ starving polar bear video, released in late 2017, that in 2018 it made a formal public apology for spreading misinformation
  • .• In Canada, where perhaps two-thirds of the world’s polar bears live, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife (COSEWIC) decided in 2018 to continue to list the polar bear as a species of ‘Special concern’ rather than upgrade to ‘Threatened.’
  • • Polar bear attacks made headlines in 2018: two fatal attacks in Nunavut, Canada and a narrowly averted death-by-mauling in northern Svalbard caught the world by surprise. Despite the folks parading around in polar bear costumes at climate marches, we need to remember that the bears are wild animals and dangerous.

The report is available here.




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