Posts Tagged ‘IUCN’

Polar bear numbers systematically underestimated by 25-30%

May 31, 2014

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is a conservation lobby group. As with all advocacy groups (WWF, FoE, Greenpeace….) much of their “science” has to be taken with a large bushel of salt. Needless to say they have “observer” status at the UN. In any event they have a Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) and much of the unfounded alarmism about the polar bear being a threatened species originates with them. As with other advocacy groups they systematically ignore data which does not advance their theses. They are not averse to data manipulation when it suits them.

In fact polar bears are thriving. The IUCN -PBSG now admits – in a little footnote – that their numbers in 5 large zones have just been ignored and set to zero for lack of data. Actual polar bear numbers are probably well in excess of 30,000. Since 2001, the PBSG has systematically ignored 5 large sub-populations of polar bears as Dr. Susan Crockford reports on her blog:

…. none of these ‘global population estimates’ (from 2001 onward) came anywhere close to being estimates of the actual world population size of polar bears (regardless of how scientifically inaccurate they might have been) — rather, they were estimates of only the subpopulations that Arctic biologists have tried to count.

For example, the PBSG’s  most recent global estimate (range 13,071-24,238) ignores five very large subpopulation regions which between them potentially contain 1/3 as many additional bears as the official estimate includes (see map below). The PBSG effectively gives them each an estimate of zero.

Based on previous PBSG estimates and other research reports, it appears there are probably at least another 6,000 or so bears living in these regions and perhaps as many as 9,000 (or more) that are not included in any PBSG “global population estimate”: Chukchi Sea ~2,000-3,000; East Greenland, ~ 2,000-3,000; the two Russian regions together (Laptev Sea and Kara Sea), another ~2,000-3,000 or so, plus 200 or so in the central Arctic Basin. These are guesses, to be sure, but they at least give a potential size.

I find the entire thrust of Conservationism to be fundamentally flawed. Threatened species are genetic and evolutionary failures in the sense that they do not have the genetic variability necessary to continue in a changing world. Trying to stop the change they cannot cope with is a futile exercise. If conservation of a species has to mean anything, then selected, threatened species have to be helped to adapt to the inevitable change – genetically if necessary.

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