Posts Tagged ‘Nunavut’

Polar bear numbers in Canada “likely the highest there has ever been”

April 6, 2012

Polar bears near Churchill, Manitoba: Ward Kennan photolibrary

DNA studies have shown that polar bears and brown bears have a common ancestry. The genetic split occurred about 150,000 years ago in the late Pleistocene just before the end of the Pleistocene glaciation known as the Ice Age. They evolved to meet the conditions of the Ice Age and they continue to adapt. In their present form as polar bears they have survived previous interglacials with temperatures greater than we have at present. And far from being endangered and under threat of extinction they continue to adapt their behaviour and to prosper.

New surveys have shown that 


Polar bear populations in Canada have increased and are getting to be a menace

December 18, 2011

Far from being a species endangered by the politically correct and alarmist view of man made global warming, their numbers are increasing and in some areas of Canada their populations have doubled. They are more frequently having litters of 3 rather than 2 cubs and are ranging further South than they usually do. Easy pickings in town garbage is irresistible and they and are even becoming a menace in some towns.

A male polar bear

Canada’s growing polar bear population ‘becoming a problem,’ locals say

…. Despite those problems, the PBSG said it is optimistic that “humans can mitigate the effects of global warming and other threats to the polar bears.”

Not so fast.

According to a U.S. Senate and Public Works Committee report, the “alarm about the future of polar bear decline is based on speculative computer model predictions many decades in the future. Those predictions are being “challenged by scientists and forecasting experts,” said the report.

Those challenges, supported by facts on the ground, including observations from Inuit hunters in the region, haven’t stopped climate fear-mongers at the U.S. Geological Survey from proclaiming that future sea ice conditions “will result in the loss of approximately two-thirds of the world’s current polar bear population by the mid 21st century.”

Such sky-is-falling rhetoric brings smiles to the Inuit population of Canada’s Nunavut Territory. They, too, know how to count, and they claim the bear population is stable or on the rise in their own backyard. Polar bears may be on the decline in some areas, but during their frequent visits to Inuit towns and outposts they rarely decline an easy meal from the local dump or a poorly secured garbage can.

Harry Flaherty, chair of the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board in the capital of Iqaluit, says the polar bear population in the region, along the Davis Strait, has doubled during the past 10 years. He questions the official figures, which are based to a large extent on helicopter surveys.

“Scientists do a quick study one to two weeks in a helicopter, and don’t see all the polar bears. We’re getting totally different stories [about the bear numbers] on a daily basis from hunters and harvesters on the ground,” he says. ….

Dr. Mitchell Taylor, a biologist who has been researching polar bear populations in Canada’s Nunavut Territory for 35 years, seems to agree. “The study estimates from the Iqaluit area agree with those of local hunters, although the accuracy of the counts is doubtful in some areas,” he says. ….. 

The on-the-ground reports, if accurate, seem to contradict the official story of the beleaguered polar bear. According to the standard theory, warmer temperatures (caused by human CO2 emissions) are shrinking the ice floe, the polar bear’s main hunting ground, forcing populations to compete for a diminishing food supply. Warmer temperatures also are to blame for the loss of thicker “multi-year ice.”

Flaherty and many others disagree with the official story. “We are aware there are changes in the weather, but it is not affecting the daily life of the animals,” he says. “Polar bears hunt in the floe-edge areas, on newly formed ice, and in the fiords in search of baby seals. They don’t hunt in the glaciers [areas of multi-year ice].

“We’re not seeing negative effects on the polar bear population from so-called climate change and receding ice,” he says. He is convinced that some scientists are deliberately “using the polar bear issue to scare people” about global warming, a view widely shared by many Nunavut locals. ….. 

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