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 Advocacy, Conservation Status, Summary
Tagged CBC, Dag Vongraven, declining sea ice, Derocher, documentary, endangered species, global population estimate, Mitch Taylor, polar bears, politics of polar bears, Reg Sherren, Seth Stapleton, threatened with extinction, western hudson bay
From CBC News (28 August 2014):
“The Politics of Polar Bears” airs Saturday, August 30, at 7 p.m. on CBC Manitoba. (CBC)
Which of the following statements do you think is true?
A) Polar bear populations have been in decline for some time
B) Polar bear populations are healthy
The answer may surprise you
“In The Politics of Polar Bears, Reg Sherren will pick his way through the message track to help you decide what is really happening with the largest land carnivore on the planet.”
See the rest here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/are-polar-bears-an-endangered-species-1.2747376?cmp=rss
[Includes a short video trailer]
Will we finally see some balance?
UPDATE: Reg Sherren tells me that “A shorter version will air next Tuesday on The National” an hour-long news and current affairs CBC program which can be viewed live online 9-10PM ET.
Here’s an excerpt of my article “Polar bears miss the message on global warming,” just out in the Fall 2014 issue of RANGE Magazine.
Posted in Advocacy, Conservation Status, Summary
Tagged activist organizations, activist scientists, arctic sea ice, Center for Biological Diversity, Ian Stirling, magazine article, polar bears, Polar Bears International, population status, World Wildlife Fund, WWF
The yearly sea ice minimum extent is almost upon us, which has recently been the seasonal signal for excitable biologists and their activist groupies to resume their breathless rants about what sea ice loss could mean for polar bears.
Never mind that the summer minimum extent reached in September, no matter how low it goes, is pretty much irrelevant to polar bear health and survival. As I’ve discussed before, what’s really important is the presence of not-too-thick ice during the spring, so they can catch lots of young seals and put on lots of fat.
But to a lesser degree, the extent at mid-to-late summer is important because this is when pregnant females that prefer to make their maternity dens on shore are looking for good places to spend the winter.
So the topic for today is this: how much does the extent of ice at the height of summer dictate where polar bear females make their winter dens?
Posted in Life History, Sea ice habitat
Tagged Arctic ice death spiral, Arctic ice extent, Barents Sea, CIS, denning females, Labrador, Mark Serreze, NSIDC, polar bear, Southern Beaufort, summer sea ice, summer sea ice minimum, tracking polar bears, USGS, western hudson bay
This is shaping up to be a banner year for polar bears in Foxe Basin (central Canada), with more ice in this region than there’s been since 1992. Hudson Bay still has a large patch of thick first year ice, more than there has been at this date since 2009, which was a late breakup year.
Ice maps and charts below tell the story.
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