Posts Tagged ‘polar bears’

Polar bear conservation: the next 10 years

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Source: Polar Bear Science  Polar_Bear_Wallpaper_Free

By Susan Crockford

As 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of an international agreement to protect polar bears from commercial and unregulated sport hunting, many eyes are looking to the immediate future. What should polar bear conservation look like over the next 10 years?

Should we base conservation measures over the next 10 years on the grim computer-generated scenarios predicted to occur decades from now or on the positive news coming from recent polar bear studies?

This week (December 3-6), the five Arctic nations that signed the original agreement are meeting in Moscow to examine this issue and renew the vows they took back in 1973 — but with a decidedly new focus (“International Forum on Conservation of Polar Bears“).

According to the draft agenda, the delegates will address among other things the perceived threats of future sea ice declines due to climate change and trade in polar bear trophies. (more…)

Ian Stirling’s latest howler: “the polar bear who died of climate change”

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Source: Polar Bear Science  A male Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) starved to death due to climate change, Svalbard, Norway

by Dr. Susan J. Crockford

Will wildlife biologist and Polar Bear Specialist Group member Ian Stirling now say anything – no matter how unscientific – to garner more sympathy and media attention for polar bears? It appears so.

A tabloid-style picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words article appeared in the environment section of the UK newspaper The Guardian yesterday (August 6, 2013) with a picture of a dead polar bear meant to wring your heart. The picture is a vehicle for statements from Ian Stirling and others that this polar bear died from climate change. A longer article was alongside.

The caption below the photo of a dead polar bear (animal tragedy porn) is this: (more…)

Global population of polar bears has increased by 2,650-5,700 since 2001

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

Source: Polar Bear Science

by Susan Crockford, Ph.D.


The official population estimates generated by the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) give the impression that the global total of polar bears has not changed appreciably since 2001:

2001 PBSG report                  21,500-25,000

2005 PBSG report                  20,000-25,000

2009 PBSG report                  20,000-25,000

2013 PBSG website                20,000-25,000

However, some accounting changes were done between 2001 and 2009 (the latest report available) that mean a net increase in numbers had to have taken place (see summary map below and previous post here. Note this is a different issue than the misleading PBSG website graphic discussed here).

And while it is true that population “estimates” are just that — rather broad estimates rather than precise counts — it is also true that nowhere do the PBSG explain how these dropped figures and other adjustments were accounted for in the estimated totals.

The simple details of these changes are laid out below, in as few words as I could manage, to help you understand how this was done and the magnitude of the effect. It’s a short read — see what you think. (more…)

Polar Bears May Have Survived 4-5 million Years of Climate Change

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Source:  CCR

Miller, W., Schuster, S.C., Welch, A.J., Ratan, A., Bedoya-Reina, O.C., Zhao, F., Kim, H.L., Burhans, R.C., Drautz, D.I., Wittekindt, N. E., Tomsho, L. P., Ibarra-Laclette, E., Herrera-Estrella, L., Peacock, E., Farley, S., Sage, G.K., Rode, K., Obbard, M., Montiel, R., Bachmann, L., Ingolfsson, O., Aars, J., Mailund, T., Wiig, O., Talbot, S.L. and Lindqvist, C. 2012. Polar and brown bear genomes reveal ancient admixture and demographic footprints of past climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences doi: 10.1073/pnas.1210506109 in press.

There has been considerable research effort expended recently on determining when and where polar bears arose (e.g. Davison et al., 2011; Edwards et al., 2011; Lindqvist et al., 2010). For example, a paper published earlier this year (Hailer et al., 2012) examined 14 nuclear genes of 19 polar bears (Ursus maritimus), 18 brown bears (Ursus arctos) and 7 black bears (Ursus americanus) and found less genetic variation within polar bears than within brown bears or black bears. Hailer and colleagues found enough haplotypes unique to the polar bear to suggest that it is a genetically distinct lineage and calculated a median divergence date for polar bears and brown bears of approximately 603,000 years – much older than previously estimated from mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and fossil data. They found no evidence of recent or on-going hybridization between brown and polar bears. However, they did find a polar bear haplotype of one nuclear gene in brown bears from the ABC Islands of Southeast Alaska, suggesting that this might be evidence of an ancient hybridization event, while their mtDNA analysis found a signal of at least one or two major hybridization events in the Late Pleistocene. (more…)

Good News For Polar Bears Is Bad News for Global Warming Alarmists

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Source: Forbes

Professor Susan Crockford, a zoologist and evolutionary biologist at the University of Victoria, Canada, reports that polar bears have successfully adapted to severe climate change many times in the past and will likely adapt to future climate change, as well. While common sense tells us that people concerned about global warming should welcome Crockford’s findings, expect the merchants of doom and gloom to ignore or go on the attack against the evolutionary biologist’s findings. (more…)

Polar Bears Found Capable of Swimming Long Distances in Open Water

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Source:  CCR

Pagano, A.M., Durner, G.M., Amstrup, S.C., Simac, K.S. and York, G.S. 2012. Long-distance swimming by polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the southern Beaufort Sea during years of extensive open water. Canadian Journal of Zoology 90: 663-676.

Polar bears use sea ice as a platform for hunting, traveling and denning. They are known to be excellent swimmers, capable of swimming between ice flows with ease. But what happens during the late summer, when the melting sea ice leaves the edge of the pack ice many kilometers offshore for months at a time? While some polar bears spend this ‘open water’ period on land, is this because they are incapable of swimming to the ice edge once it gets beyond a certain point? Are polar bears, particularly females with cubs, able to successfully swim hundreds of kilometers from land to the ice edge during the ‘open water’ season if they choose to do so? (more…)

No Decline in Polar Bear Population

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Source: CNS

Mother polar bear with cub. (Photo by Scott Schliebe of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

The Polar Bear Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the organization of scientists that has attempted to monitor the global polar bear population since the 1960s, has issued a report indicating that there was no change in the overall global polar bear population in the most recent four-year period studied.

“The total number of polar bears is still thought to be between 20,000 and 25,000,” the group said in a press release published together with a report on the proceedings of its 15th meeting

20,000 to 25,000 polar bears worldwide is exactly the same population estimate the group made following its 14th international meeting.

“The total number of polar bears worldwide is estimated to be 20,000–25,000,” the scientists said in the report they issued after that previous meeting. (more…)

Saving Polar Bears by Killing Them?

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011


CHURCHVILLE, VA—A recent article in the British journal Nature warns that polar bears are increasingly mating with grizzly bears—because man-made climate change is rapidly melting the Arctic sea ice on which the polar bears love to hunt seals.

Breathlessly, we’re told that a hybrid grizzly/polar bear was discovered in 2006. More recently another bear shot by a hunter also had mixed DNA. The offending hybrid bears should be “culled”—a kinder word than “killed”—according to lead author Brendan Kelly of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Hold on a minute.  Let’s bless this story with some bits of reality. :

First, there’s no evidence the Arctic ice cap is really shrinking. The Arctic has a warming/cooling cycle of about 70 years, and the old archives of the New York Times are filled with stories from the 1920s and 1930s about the Arctic ice disappearing. Those 1920’s stories turned out to be wrong, and the ice-expert Russians tell us they’ll be wrong this time too. (more…)

Time To Hold Environmental And Climate Doomsayers To Account

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Source:  Canada Free Press

by Dr. Tim Ball

The 1990 Greenpeace Report on Global Warming said, carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere naturally and unnaturally. They define unnatural as anything humans do. It is part of the theme of environmentalism that humans shouldn’t be here or tolerated only if they behave as they are told. The other part of the idea of unnatural is exploited to keep the people enthralled, fearful and therefore controlled. H.L.Mencken’s comment that, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary” applies and is proof of the political nature of events presented, directly or with implication, as unnatural.

The false idea is presented out of context then left uncorrected by lack of follow up. This is especially true if the story is a prediction. We need a media vehicle to analyze the story in context followed by the aftermath. It’s time for a program on which doomsayers who profited financially or politically from false stories and predictions confronted and held to account. Here are some recent stories that proved incorrect. (more…)

‘Go green or we’ll kill your kids’ says Richard Curtis eco-propaganda shocker

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Source:  UK Telegraph

by James Delingpole

Gillian Anderson, Peter Crouch [a tall footballer], Radiohead, David Ginola [a French footballer] and – above all – Richard Curtis, I salute you! You have just released a video which has entered history as the most emetic, ugly, counterproductive eco-propaganda movie ever made. Believe me this thing is going to go viral beyond your wildest dreams. But unfortunately that virus is ebola. (Hat tips: Barry Woods/Tom Dalton/Pete Hayes/Old Goat/half the civilised world….)

Here’s what the Guardian had to say, excitedly, when it previewed the video yesterday:

Had a look? Well, I’m certain you’ll agree that detonating school kids, footballers and movie stars into gory pulp for ignoring their carbon footprints is attention-grabbing.

It then goes on to quote one or two of the usual suspects, such as this light-hearted, “no we don’t really want to blow up schoolchildren for showing insufficient environmental zeal, that’s just our sense of humour, ha ha ha ha” little missy:

“Doing nothing about climate change is still a fairly common affliction, even in this day and age. What to do with those people, who are together threatening everybody’s existence on this planet? Clearly we don’t really think they should be blown up, that’s just a joke for the mini-movie, but maybe a little amputating would be a good place to start?” jokes 10:10 founder and Age of Stupid film maker Franny Armstrong. (more…)

Polar bears not at risk: Nunavut

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Source: CBC News

[SPPI Note:

Past SPPI papers on the polar bear issue can be read here:

Demographic and Ecological Polar Bear Perspectives

Polar bears of western Hudson Bay and climate change

Polar Bears: Times is on their side

Polar Bear Population Forecasts: A Public-Policy Forecasting Audit

Reply to response to Dyck on polar bears and climate change in western Hudson Bay

Polar Bears, Climate Change, and Human Dignity ]


The Nunavut government does not think the polar bear should be classified as a species of special concern under the federal Species at Risk Act, says territorial Environment Minister Daniel Shewchuk.

Shewchuk said there is no clear evidence to support assigning that status to the polar bear despite recommendations to the contrary by Environment Canada and a federal scientific panel. (more…)

Climate change exaggerated, opines Wisconsin student

Thursday, February 25th, 2010


By: Sean McCormick

Issue needs to be approached with humility, more sense

The past couple of weeks haven’t been good for proponents of climate change. Professor Phil Jones, formerly of University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, admitted that there has not been any “statistically significant” global warming since 1995. He also stated that there were two warming periods in the 20th century that were due to natural phenomena rather than human interference, totaling just more than half a century. Despite fears of global warming, most of the U.S. and Europe is experiencing one of the worst winters in recent history.

None of this should be surprising to anyone. Global temperature has only risen 0.7° F since the 1800s. Polar bears, long considered to be threatened by climate change, are at “historic” high population levels, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Increasing levels of CO2 will cause the global mean surface temperature to increase by only one degree by 2100. So why do we constantly hear that climate change is going to cause droughts, flooding and other disasters? (more…)