“Blizzards, we had fog — we had to sleep in the helicopter, on the sea ice one night, because we couldn’t fly anywhere,” Markus Dyck, senior polar bear biologist with the GN, told Nunatsiaq News Sept. 5.”
Fog was the theme of polar bear research this summer in Queen Maud Gulf, otherwise known as the M’Clintock Channel polar bear subpopulation region.
The ice has been heavy in that region as well, according to a the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and reported yesterday in another story (“Heavy pack ice in NW Passage ice creates tough conditions this year: Pack ice clogs Queen Maud Gulf“).
For maps showing where M’Clintock Channel and Queen Maud Gulf actually are, see the maps — and more quotes — below.
Posted in Population, Sea ice habitat
Tagged biopsy dart, heavy sea ice, helicopter survey, M'Clintock Channel, Markus Dyck, Northwest Passage, NSIDC, polar bear, population estimate, population survey, Queen Maud Gulf, tagging
Umbrage alert! Last night, a half-length short form of the powerful and balanced documentary “The Politics of Polar Bears” aired across Canada on the CBC’s flagship TV news program, The National.
Right after it aired, they followed up with a lengthy online summary by the producer of the film, Reg Sherren (“Polar bears: Threatened species or political pawn?”, September 2, with video of the 19 minute short program). Check out the comments below it! Excerpts and my comments below.
[Links to the full length film here and in my previous posts here and here]
Posted in Advocacy, Conservation Status, Population
Tagged CBC, Derocher, documentary, endangered, global warming, Mitch Taylor, polar bear, politics of polar bears, population estimate, predictions, Reg Sherren, sea ice, The National, threatened, video, warm interglacials, western hudson bay
The CBC in Canada is pretty much a mirror image of the BBC in the UK, ABC in Australia and PBS in the US. So you might appreciate my shock at the almost unbelievable balance contained in the recently broadcasted CBC documentary, “The Politics of Polar Bears: Tracking the Celebrity Bear.”
The film is a profound change from the hype and pessimism that has dominated the polar bear issue in Canada and abroad, supported unchallenged by the CBC. Finally, TV viewers were given some decently balanced perspective on the status of polar bears in Western Hudson Bay.
If the take-away message tipped towards reason and optimism rather than panic over the status of polar bears, it’s because the evidence was strongly in that direction.
Posted in Conservation Status, Population, Sea ice habitat
Tagged Churchill, declining sea ice, Derocher, endangered, he who must not be named, Mitch Taylor, PBSG, polar bear attack, polar bears, population estimate, qualified guess, sea ice models, Steve McIntyre, threatened, western hudson bay
In an attempt to get themselves out of a mess of their own making, the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) has just dug their hole even deeper.
Although the minutes of their 2014 June meeting (pdf here) contained this statement…
“K. Laidre summarized the need for the PBSG to do a better job of communicating accurate and balanced science about polar bears.” Pg. 28
…you might conclude, after reading the rest of this post, that polar bear specialists don’t really understand what these terms mean.
Due to the flack they have been catching over their global polar bear population estimates, the PBSG determined that another clarification was in order. [As opposed to the first clarification, a footnote the group planned to insert in an upcoming report, which PBSG chairman Dag Vongraven sent to me in May)]
The new clarification, apparently co-authored by Steve Amstrup and Andy Derocher (PBSG 17 minutes, pg. 33 – copied below), makes an astonishingly bold claim that I can easily show is untrue.
Posted in Population
Tagged Amstrup, Arctic basin, communication, Derocher, East Greenland, footnote clarification, global population estimate, Kristin Laidre, PBSG, polar bear population estimate, polar bears, status table
Here are two more priceless quotes from the minutes of the last meeting of the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) – on issues with sea ice percentages used to define “ice-free” and the problem of bears with collars showing up on sea ice that, according to ice data, does not exist. These quotes are in addition to the ones I posted earlier this week (here and here).
See the original document for the context here.
Posted in Conservation Status, Population, Sea ice habitat
Tagged Arctic, breakup, conservation status, freeze-up, ice-free, IUCN, PBSG, satellite radio collars, sea ice concentration, sea ice experts, Seth Cherry, threatened with extinction, tracking polar bears
IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group conservation biologists are determined to have polar bears listed as ‘threatened with extinction’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2015 – even though the bears would not meet that classification if assessed today.
According to the minutes of their last meeting (in addition to the astonishing admissions from sea ice experts I reported yesterday), PBSG members are busy planning their strategy. They have thrown objectivity to the wind and are certain they can find a way to
mask overcome the inadequacies of their case and see polar bears remain listed as ‘vulnerable’ (IUCN-equivalent to ‘threatened’ in the US) on the 2015 IUCN Red List update.
Along with some other priceless quotes, the minutes reveal their plan. See the original document for the context of these quotes here and an excerpt of “the plan” (pgs. 12-17) here. Continue reading
Posted in Conservation Status, Population
Tagged Bayesian models, conservation biology, conservation status, IUCN, PBSG, polar bear, population estimates, predictions, Red list, threatened, vulnerable