Slowly but surely, word is leaking out: the Western Hudson Bay polar bear population is stable at ~1000 bears, confirming the good news contained in maps posted on the Environment Canada website a few months ago (discussed by me here and here). Environment Canada has apparently been giving presentations in local Western Hudson Bay communities relaying their decision.
Yesterday, a press release was issued by one of the official Inuit organizations in Nunavut announcing the new official status of the Western Hudson Bay polar bear population.
The PR in its entirety below (emphasis is mine):
Released | December 4, 2014 | pdf copy
Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. President Cathy Towtongie today said a new Environment Canada study confirms that the polar bear population in west Hudson Bay is stable. Towtongie’s comments came following a Nunavut Wildlife Management Board meeting in Rankin Inlet that included a presentation by Environment Canada concerning the health of the west Hudson Bay population. The most recent scientific study results show that the population has been stable for the last 10 years. The Government of Nunavut also presented the results of their aerial survey which showed the population to number about 1,030 animals.
“The west Hudson Bay polar bear population has been used to predict the demise of polar bears due to the impacts of climate change. Activists have used the health of this population to predict all sorts of dire impacts on the Arctic and all of its species, but science is showing the bear population has been healthy,” said Towtongie. “This confirms what Inuit have reported. The predictions that the population would decline were wrong, and this has impacted Inuit lives and property.”
Towtongie said that Inuit in Arviat, Chesterfield Inlet and Whale Cove reported increases in the number of bears in or near their communities, and there are many reports of threats to public safety. Consequently, the HTOs in the three Kivalliq communities have asked the NWMB to increase their quota to meet safety concerns in their communities.
The NWMB will now consider the HTOs’ request and forward a decision to the Government of Nunavut’s Environment Minister.
For further information:
Director of Communications
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated
Tel: (867) 975-4914