I just went back to Andy Revkin’s blog post on the swimming polar bear video story that I wrote about on Wednesday to see what kind of feedback it was getting. I found that it pays to check up.
A reader from Oregon questioned the filming techniques used for this video.
Revkin followed up.
And it turned out, the reader from Oregon was correct — the film used in this video was shot with “an assortment of traditional methods,” not with the strapped on cameras that the USGS were using on the bears.
Revkin assumed from the background provided to him that this was leading-edge technology, bear-generated video. And even though he’d interviewed the filmmaker, the truth hadn’t come out.
Update June 29, 2014 – another damning comment made, added below.
Posted in Advocacy, Sea ice habitat
Tagged Adam Ravetch, Arctic Exploration Fund, bear-mounted cameras, DotEarth, polar bears, POV video, propaganda, Revkin, swimming polar bears, underwater video, USGS
A video being hyped around the internet – “Witness a polar bear’s heartbreaking swim for ice in the Arctic” said one headline – is simply shameless propaganda, facilitated by the US Geological Survey and its polar bear biologists. USGS scientists involved in this work should be ashamed of themselves.
The caption for the Youtube video (published Jun 21, 2014) says this:
Take a swim with a polar bear family as they traverse the Arctic Ocean in search of sea ice.
This is a load of nonsense and a total misrepresentation of the facts.
In addition, the text added to the video is pure propaganda: it is being used to promote the US government position that sea ice loss due to climate change is a massive threat to polar bears. Unfortunately, recent studies contradict the contention that polar bears have already been harmed by declines in summer sea ice.
Here are some background to the video you should be aware of:
1) The bears were swimming away from the USGS researchers and film crew who had shot them full of sedatives and attached a camera to one of their necks — they were not swimming toward sea ice 100 miles away.
2) The video was shot in the Bering Sea, in April 2014, when sea ice was about its maximum extent of the year — there was lots of ice around when this video was filmed.
3) The company doing the filming is using this video as a fundraiser.
Details below, including a sea ice map for April 2014.
UPDATE June 27, 2014 – see follow-up post here.
Posted in Advocacy, Sea ice habitat
Tagged Adam Ravetch, Arctic Bear Productions, Bering Sea, climate change, DotEarth, polar bear, polar bears, POV video, propaganda, Revkin, swimming polar bears, USGS, youtube video
Again this year – contrary to predictions – there has been no early breakup of the sea ice on Hudson Bay and even though it’s the height of summer, there is plenty of ice throughout the Arctic to act as a feeding platform for polar bears. This makes it unlikely there will be a longer-than-average summer fast for polar bears again this year.
Sea ice maps around the Arctic for June 21 (and June 24, for Hudson Bay) reviewed and discussed below in relation to polar bear habitat — have a look.
Posted in Conservation Status, Sea ice habitat
Tagged Chukchi Sea, critical feeding period, early summer ice coverage, Hudson Bay breakup, Jon Aars, polar bear, polar bear habitat, sea ice maps, spring sea ice, summer fast, Svalbard, Svalbard cubs, western hudson bay
Media agency Aljazeera gave free advertizing the other day (June 16, 2014, “New TV ads focus on plight of polar bears in warming world,” by Renee Lewis) to the Center for Biological Diversity’s TV fear-mongering campaign about polar bears.
With unmitigated gall, it’s being billed as a “public service announcement.”
Posted in Advocacy, Cannibalism, Conservation Status
Tagged Aljazeera, animal tragedy porn, appeals to emotion, brink of extinction, CBD, Center for Biological Diversity, extinction, fear-mongering, global warming, Kieran Suckling, plight of the polar bear, polar bear, predictions, public service announcement, scam, TV ads
While I was in London, ahead of my House of Lords lecture on June 11, 2014 (“Healthy Polar Bears, Less Than Healthy Science“)*, I had a chat with Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.
Have a listen here: “An Interview with Dr Susan Crockford on polar bears, evolution and Arctic controversies.”
I’ve been traveling for a month but I am finally home — tired and jet-lagged after a journey that took me two-thirds of the way around the world and back. More on my experiences as my energy for blogging returns.
*I shouldn’t have to point this out but I will: I was not paid for this lecture, nor for the airfare to London (I was passing through town anyway). As the timing of the lecture required an overnight stay, GWPF did pick up the tab for a hotel room and dinner, as hosting organizations for such events do as a matter of course.
Posted in Conservation Status, Summary
Tagged Benny Peiser, Dr Susan Crockford, evolution, Global Warming Policy Foundation, GWPF, healthy polar bears, House of Lords, interview, lecture, less than healthy science, London, polar bears
Here is the May 2014 follow-up to my post on the July 2013 track map for female polar bears being followed by satellite in the Beaufort Sea by the US Geological Survey (USGS) – “Ten out of ten polar bears being tracked this summer in the Beaufort Sea are on the ice.”
See that post for methods and other background on this topic, and some track maps from 2012 (also available at the USGS website here).
The USGS track map May 2014 is copied below (Fig. 1).
Compare this to April’s map (Fig. 2) – the 24 bears from April are down to 20 and the bears are spreading out a bit from the area on the central Alaskan coast where they were originally tagged. Fifteen of these bears have satellite collar transmitters [and therefore are females] and 5 of these bears have glue-on satellite transmitters [either males or subadult animals].
Some comments on the polar bear video cam footage released June 6 by USGS and stories on it run by the media follow.
Posted in Advocacy, Conservation Status, Sea ice habitat
Tagged anecdotal observations, Beaufort Sea, evidence, global warming, glued-on satellite transmitters, POV video, satellite collars, sea ice loss, tracking polar bears, USGS
The Center for Biological Diversity has failed in its bid to use NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) to pressure Canada to list polar bears as a species ‘threatened’ with extinction — wrapping up a story I wrote about twice last year (here and here).
Last week, Damian Carrington (May 28, 2014) at The Guardian offered a scary-sounding polar bear story, based on the work of Jon Aars and colleagues from the Norwegian Polar Institute (“Fewer polar bear cubs are being born in the Arctic islands, survey finds”). As often is the case however, once you see the scientific data, you will sleep better.
[Dr Aars also gave a radio interview with CBC Canada (May 29): “Is climate change the cause of lower polar bear birth rates in Norway?”; audio available]
[Update June 24, 2014 — see below]
Female polar bear with cubs. (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)
Posted in Life History, Sea ice habitat
Tagged AMO, Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, Barents Sea, Carrington, climate change, cub production, cubs of the year, females with cubs, fewer cubs, global warming, Jon Aars, Magnus Andersen, polar bear, sea ice