Posts Tagged ‘Polar bear’

World polar bear population is now up to 22,600 – 32,000

January 10, 2013

What’s going on? Suddenly”official” figures for global polar bear populations are being shown to be quite substantial and increasing. What happened to all the fanatics of the “endangered species lobby”? Where is the WWF? I don’t think polar bears are in any danger of extinction and their endangerment is greatly exaggerated,  but are they actually thriving? Are polar bear culls now on the cards?

Perhaps the “real” scientists are beginning to see that continuing with the alarmism touted by eco-fascists is not sustainable and is counter-productive?

PolarBearScience has the story:

According to a dynamic summary report on the home page of the IUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialist Group website  called State of the Polar Bearthere are now 22,600-32,000 polar bears worldwide, when tallied by nation.

Here are the numbers, by nation, listed in the State of the Polar Bearsummary report (see map below):
Canada                              13,300-17,500
USA                                   1,200-1,800
Russia                               2,700-4,800
Norway                             1,900-3,600
(Denmark)                        3,5000-4,400
Total                            22,600-32,000

The “Nations” page of the Polar Bear Specialist Group’s “State of the Polar Bear,” a dynamic summary that can be launched from the home page of the IUCN PBSG [published Oct. 15, 2012] Click to enlarge.

The “Nations” page of the Polar Bear Specialist Group’s “State of the Polar Bear,” a dynamic summary that can be launched from the home page of the IUCN PBSG

This is a big change from the 20,000-25,000 that has been touted as the global polar bear population since 2005.


If there could be as many as 32,000 polar bears worldwide, why have we not heard of this before? Is this another example of data being kept secret?[see previous discussion here and here]. Or is something else going on?

Polar bears heading out onto rapidly forming Arctic sea ice

November 17, 2012

In spite of all the headlines about the dearth of Arctic ice it seems that polar bears are not too worried. They are heading out onto the rapidly growing ice in a “mass exodus” to hunt for their seals about a week ahead of  schedule. 

Polar Bear Science reports that:

It appears from the ice maps that most of the polar bears throughout the world that have chosen to remain on land during the late summer and fall (about July/August through October/November) can now return to the ice. …

… polar bear watchers in and around Churchill Manitoba (in Western Hudson Bay) are reporting an exodus of polar bears to the sea ice that is rapidly forming offshore. While it appears from the ice map …. that only a narrow strip of sea ice has formed close to shore, this is apparently quite enough for the bears to move off the land and out to sea. Once on the ice, polar bears will start hunting for seals.

The same phenomenon is likely true all over the Arctic – ice forming near shore may not be showing up on the satellite images (e.g. western Russia, Svalbard) but it will be enough to get polar bears off land and back out to sea where they can hunt. ….

…. Kelsey says that the “bay froze about a week earlier than last year” [earlier is good] and reports that polar bears are eagerly moving offshore onto the newly-formed ice.  Sounds like the folks there to promote “Polar Bear Week” won’t find many bears to point cameras at.

Polar Bear Alley also reports:

This whole season has been about a week ahead of last year so it is not a real surprise that the bay froze about a week earlier than last year. Yesterday, we watched the mass exodus of polar bears out onto the sea ice. Most of the day consisted of yellow bear butts wobbling and weaving out towards the floe edge.

Over the past week, there have been daily highs around minus 10-15C and some fairly consistent north winds. This combination is all we need for the ice to freeze along Cape Churchill. From wind and greasy waves last Thursday to a thin band of ice along the shore by Saturday, you could see the end was near.

Most years though a late season south wind ‘saves’ bear season but this wind arrived about a day or two late this year, the ice is now locked in from what I can see. By Monday, ice floes clung to the shore and the smaller bays near Churchill were almost locked in. A north wind that night and the next day then sealed the deal.

Yesterday, there was a constant stream of polar bears crossing Cape Merry, the point between town and the Churchill River. Polar Bear Alert officers hazed some of them to speed their departure but really, once the ice is here, there is not much incentive to stay around. By 3pm, you could see twelve bears out on the ice between Eskimo Point to the west and Miss Piggy beach. ……

Polargate investigation questions new witnesses

April 6, 2012

The Polargate investigation being conducted by the Department of the Interior’s Office of Inspector General “is looking into allegations of scientific misconduct related to a 2006 report by wildlife researchers Charles Monnett and Jeffrey Gleason, who described seeing dead polar bears floating in Arctic waters. The apparently drowned bears raised concerns about the effect of melting ice in the Arctic, and they were mentioned in Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth.”

Now NPR reports that new witnesses are being questioned in this 3 year old investigation:


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. ….. 

Read the article

Polargate: When peer review is degraded to spouse-review and friend-review

August 13, 2011

An earlier post carried the story of Charles Monnett who apparently when flying over the Arctic to survey whales thought he saw 3 or 4 dead polar bears in the water. He did not get any pictures and did not retrieve any carcases but instead wrote a paper  published in Polar Biology and which was supposedly peer-reviewed. He baldly presented his observations and then speculated that the bears had probably drowned in a storm and that many more of them would drown if global warming led to the melting of Arctic ice in the summers and forced  the poor polar bears to spend more time in open water.

It was all speculation even if one supposes that he actually saw some dead polar bears. His speculations were taken as established fact and blown up by the Global Warming orthodoxy. Al Gore, the almost -President of the US and the self-proclaimed inventor of the internet, picked up the story with gusto which then  played a major part in his science fantasy movie, “An Inconvenient Truth”, which helped to win him a Nobel prize.

Panic over the dead bears and Monnett’s wild hypotheses about them helped fuel calls for declaring the bears endangered, despite all evidence that their populations have actually been increasing over the last few years.  Monnett did quite well from the work, parlaying his fame into management of a $50 million study budget, the dream of all academics. – Coyote Blog

Monnet is now being investigated by the Interior Department’s Inspector General’s office for some kind of wrong-doing associated with his award of research contracts which has also led to interrogations about his sightings and his paper and subsequent research grants. Investigators are apparently  examining Monnet’s procurement of one of those research studies on polar bears conducted by Canada’s University of Alberta, as well as the “disclosure of personal relationships and preparation of the scope of work,” according to a July 29 memo from the Interior Department’s inspector general’s office.

In particular, investigators are asking questions about the peer review on Monnett’s drowned polar bear paper, which was done by his wife, Lisa Rotterman, as well as by Andrew Derocher, the lead researcher on the  million dollar Canadian study funded by Monnet’s generosity.

Monnets co-author Jeffrey Gleason is back-pedalling and is in damage-control mode.

Although the four dead bears cited in the paper were observed from 1,500 feet during flights over the Beaufort Sea, and the carcasses were never recovered or examined, Gleason told investigators it is likely the creatures drowned in a sudden windstorm that produced 30-knot winds, not for lack of an ice pack.  
“We never mentioned global warming in the paper,” Gleason told the investigators.
 Gleason told investigators that reaction to his and Monnett’s paper was overblown and spun out of context.

Monnett is being legally defended by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility who have also demanded an investigation of the investigation. They should perhaps pick their causes a little more carefully. Even the New York Times  weighs in but tries to trivialise the impact of the wrong-doing. Though just how they take computer model results to be a  “broad array of evidence” that “polar bear populations — and the health of the planet — will be threatened by climate change in future decades” is just a bit mysterious if not plain gullible.

A modest scientific observation about a few drowning polar bears has enmeshed a government wildlife biologist in an investigation into whether he is guilty of scientific misconduct. The investigation has taken on symbolic importance in the debate over global warming. …… Whatever the ultimate verdict on Dr. Monnett, the controversy over his observations is a minor sideshow in the global warming debate. A broad array of evidence suggests that polar bear populations — and the health of the planet — will be threatened by climate change in future decades even if not a single additional polar bear drowns while swimming far from shore.

That peer-review is often corrupted is not new but Monnet must be congratulated on getting his wife and a “friend” to be the reviewers.

But the Journal Polar Biology has been silent. How were the reviewers chosen?

Monnets original paper is here : Observations of mortality associated with extended open-water swimming  by polar bears in the Arctic Beaufort Sea 

Al Gore’s polar bear scientist suspended, being investigated for scientific misconduct

July 28, 2011
Polar bear under water

Polar bear under water: Image via Wikipedia

UPDATE 2! It seems that the famous dead-bear photograph may have been photo-shopped. 

UPDATE! Extracts from a transcript of the Inspector General’s interview with Charles Monnet is available at WUWT.

Monnet comes across as a blithering idiot. Let alone algebra (and let’s not include statistics), Monnet’s arithmetic leaves a lot to be desired!! And he disbursed 50 million $!!! Fraud may not have been the intention – even if that was the result, but this was not science.

Scientific misconduct together with political opportunism is a heady combination.

No further comment needed.

Fed Polar Bear Defender Placed on Leave

A federal wildlife biologist who sounded the alarm about drowning polar bears in the midst of global warming has been placed on leave pending the outcome of a scientific misconduct probe. Charles Monnett is being investigated for unspecified “integrity issues” apparently linked to his report that polar bears could face an increased threat of death if they’re forced to swim farther as Arctic ice recedes, reports AP. ……

Monnett is in charge of monitoring some $50 million in studies from his Anchorage office of the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement. He and fellow researcher Jeffrey Gleason spotted four dead polar bears in the Arctic sea during an aerial survey following a 2004 storm in the first known sighting of bears floating offshore and presumed drowned while apparently swimming long distances. They theorized that bears’ “drowning-related deaths may increase if the observed trend of regression of pack ice and/or longer open water periods continues.” Monnett’s conclusions helped galvanize the movement to stem global warming, and the drowned polar bears were cited by Al Gore in his film An Inconvenient Truth. Gleason was asked by an “integrity” investigator his thoughts on the bear citation in the Gore film, according to transcripts. Gleason responded by saying that none of the polar bear papers he has written or co-authored has said “anything really” about global warming.

According to The Blaze

Monnett, an Anchorage-based scientist with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, or BOEMRE, was told July 18 that he was being put on leave, pending results of an investigation into “integrity issues.” 

US: Polar bears are “threatened” but not “endangered”

December 23, 2010
Polar Bear (Sow And Cub), Arctic National Wild...

Polar Bear (Sow And Cub), Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska: Image via Wikipedia

In spite of a great deal of PR from alarmist and global warming lobbies in the past week, the US has decided not to change the status of polar bears from “threatened” to “endangered”.

From the Washington Post:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service told a U.S. District Court judge Wednesday that the threatened designation will not change because polar bears were not considered to be in danger of extinction at the time of the listing in 2008.

“The Service explained how its biologists had concluded in 2008 that the polar bear was not facing sudden and catastrophic threats [and] was still a widespread species that had not been restricted to a critically small range or critically low numbers,” the agency said in a statement.

Kassie Siegel, director of the Climate Law Institute at the Center for Biological Diversity, called the administration’s decision “a huge disappointment.” Arctic ice, the bears’ hunting ground, is melting and bears are starving to death, she said.

“It’s a wasted opportunity to do the right thing,” Siegel said. “The government’s own studies show about an 80 percent chance of extinction of two-thirds of the world’s polar bears in the next 40 years.”

AS WUWT reports

Some enironmentalists heads are exploding right about now. This pretty well slams the door on the polar bears threatened by global warming meme. Now we know why there was a flurry of questionable press releases this past week like these:

Polar bears no longer on ‘thin ice’: researchers say polar bears could face brighter future: a combination of greenhouse gas mitigation and control of adverse human activities in the Arctic can lead to a more promising future for polar bear populations and their sea ice habitat

Polar bears: On thin ice? Extinction can be averted, scientists say
Cutting greenhouse gases now is the key

Polar bears still on thin ice, but cutting greenhouse gases now can avert extinction

or as the BBC puts it

Polar bears not endangered, US confirms

Cornish polar bear was a cow!

September 21, 2010

Polar bears are not after all trying desperately to escape the Arctic.

The presenter of ITV’s West Country breakfast bulletin informed astonished viewers that an animal more commonly spotted near the North Pole had turned up in the seaside town of Bude. Video footage showed a large, white beast lying on the shore.

Video footage of the 'polar bear' on a beach in Cornwall

'polar bear' on a beach in Cornwall

“A walker in Cornwall has caught an extraordinary sight on camera. A polar bear has washed up on a beach near Bude,” an excited Miss Naomi Lloyd said. “The bear comes from the Arctic Circle and an investigation is under way as to how it could have ended up there.”

White cow alive on a beach

Closer inspection revealed that the polar bear was, in fact, a cow. The farm animal had been bleached white by sea water.

Riding piggy-back can save the polar bears from melting ice!!

September 16, 2010

Well now….

Swedish Radio reports that a previously unknown behaviour of polar bears has been observed. A cub can travel on its mother’s back while she swims in search of food. “It could be a way for polar bears to cope better than we thought” said Tom Arnbom of WWF. “I think it’s positive” he says. “It proves that the polar bears can adapt if climate changes in the Arctic”

image: Isbjörnar. Foto: Angela Plumb/WWF.

Polar bear with cub

Update: Story also on the BBC

Dr Jon Aars from the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromso describes what happened in the journal Polar Biology. On the 21 July 2006, Mrs Angela Plumb, a tourist from the UK, was aboard a ship in the mouth of a fjord in the Svalbard archipelago.

“The cub was on the back of the polar bear when it was in the water, then it got out of the water and stayed on its mother’s back a little, then she shook it off,” Mrs Plumb explains.

For large parts of the year, polar bears (Ursus maritimus) live among the sea ice, feeding mainly on seals. The challenge for the bears is to navigate the many areas of open water between the islands of floating ice. Seeing the bear had a radio collar, Mrs Plumb got in touch with Dr Aars to report her sighting and asked if this was a common behaviour.

“I hadn’t seen this behaviour before or heard about it so I asked other researchers and found out it is something that has been observed but not frequently at all,” Dr Aars says.

Dr Aars was especially interested if this behaviour might have some adaptive value for the bears. “This could be potentially important because it means that the cubs get exposed to less water. If they are in the water they would have to swim and very small cubs are very badly insulated in water,” he says.

%d bloggers like this: