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, Exile for Non-believers, he who must not be named, Mitch Taylor, Nova, PBSG, polar bear attack, polar bears, population estimate, qualified guess, sea ice models, Steve McIntyre, western hudson bay
This powerful, balanced documentary, with a focus on the bears of Western Hudson Bay, can now be watched online. A Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) production, it includes interviews with polar bear biologists Mitch Taylor (screen-cap below) and Seth Stapleton – juxtaposed with statements from outspoken polar bear conservation advocate Andrew Derocher.
I was not mentioned by name (making me “she who cannot be named” yet again?) but host Reg Sherren did discuss the contents of the email I received from PBSG chairman Dag Vongraven earlier this summer about their proposed clarification to the global population estimate (and posted here).
It can be viewed online at “CBC Player,” in its entirety (45 minutes long), without commercials – see it http://www.cbc.ca/player/Shows/Shows/Absolutely%20Canadian/Absolutely%20Manitoba/ID/2499492515/?cmp=rss
I can’t guarantee those outside Canada will be able to view it but I watched it Sunday night (August 31) from British Columbia. It’s well worth the time.
[Aired originally on “Absolutely Manitoba” (Season 2014, Episode 5, Aug 30, 2014), by Reg Sherren. See announcement article here]
[Note: the "Sharon Crockford" interviewed in the film is no relation to me, as far as I know!]
Posted in Conservation Status, Advocacy, Summary
Tagged polar bears, Derocher, Mitch Taylor, western hudson bay, endangered species, declining sea ice, Dag Vongraven, CBC, threatened with extinction, Seth Stapleton, global population estimate, Reg Sherren, politics of polar bears, documentary
Figure 1. Polar bear subpopulation regions defined by the Polar Bear Specialist Group, Foxe Basin marked.
Foxe Basin is a large subpopulation region (Fig. 1), with a total area of 1.18 million square km (Vongraven and Peacock 2011). It comprises Northern Hudson Bay and western Hudson Strait, and the area between western Baffin Island and eastern Melville Peninsula, with a large island (Southampton Island) in the middle (Figs. 2 and 3).
Figure 1. Foxe Basin polar bears subpopulation region, courtesy IUCN PBSG
Posted in Life History, Population
Tagged aerial survey, body condition, fatty acid analysis, Foxe Basin, mark-recapture, Mitch Taylor, Nunavut, Obbard, Peacock, polar bear diet, Polar Bear Specialist Group, population status, Stapleton, starving polar bears, Thiemann
Despite the fact that the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) apparently provided a significant portion of the funding for the recently concluded International Forum on Conservation of Polar Bears (December 3-6, Moscow), it appears in the end they and their NGO cohorts were prevented from having an undue amount of influence at the meeting. For that we can thank the delegates of the five Arctic nations: three cheers for common sense!
This news did not emerge until late yesterday (Friday, Dec. 6), after the meeting had concluded: no mention was made of NGOs being excluded in the press releases and stories written before then. For example, see IUCN story, Dec. 5; WWF story, Dec. 4; Times of India report, Dec. 5 and this Arctic Journal story Dec. 6. There was nothing in any of them about NGOs and journalists being barred from parts of the meeting they thought they would be allowed to attend.
Note that biologist Mitch Taylor, booted-out of the Polar Bear Specialist Group because he did not agree with the group’s position on global warming, attended as part of the Canadian contingent (see list at the end of this post), which was a bit of a surprise. However, the exclusion from the meeting of WWF and their buddies is the big news as far as I’m concerned.
[The media seems more interested in the fallout from a twitter message sent on the final day of the meeting by Canada's Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq — more on that in my next post].
Posted in Advocacy, Conservation Status
Tagged Amstrup, Circumpolar Action Plan for Polar Bear Conservation, conservation, Environment Canada, environmental organizations, Humane Society International, Leona Aglukkaq, Mitch Taylor, NGOs, polar bear, Polar Bear Specialist Group, Polar Bears International, twitter storm, Vongraven, World Wildlife Fund, WWF
I was in the process of writing about something else last week when I came across a tidbit of information that, on closer examination, turned out to be part of a much bigger issue that I thought should be documented.
The story involves some machinations behind the scenes of the international Polar Bear Specialist Group, the “PBSG,” that you might find rather astonishing – and which may have implications for the various on-going battles about the polar bear’s conservation status.
A lone polar bear walking on ice [Kathy Crane (NOAA) photo].
We’ll call this a metaphor for the expulsion of Mitch Taylor from the PBSG,
after the Group switched from emphasizing unregulated over-hunting
as the primary threat to polar bears to global warming.