Monthly Archives: February 2016

Only the gullible still buying ‘polar bear died of climate change’ nonsense

The media promote this ‘polar bear who died of climate change’ rubbish because it’s good for business but there is no evidence to support it. The Daily Mail today is running a piece that encourages the self-serving, sensationalist claim made by a photographer trying to sell his book. 

Daily Mail screencap_polar bear that died of climate change_Feb 18 2016

Read the whole thing here but remember this: the leading cause of death for all polar bears is starvation, in part because they have no natural enemies. Polar bears die of starvation every year, with or without ‘climate change.’

This bear might have died of starvation but that does not mean global warming is to blame. It’s bad enough when it’s a leading polar bear biologist making such a ridiculous claim but there is no reason at all to take the scientifically baseless word of Sebastian Copeland on this matter.

Previous posts where I have addressed similar claims:

Last year’s dead Svalbard polar bear used for this year’s propaganda

Polar bear behaviour gets the animal tragedy porn treatment – two new papers

Cannibalism in polar bears: spin and misrepresentation of fact galore posted

Ian Stirling’s howler update: contradicted by scientific data

 

Polar bear habitat mid-winter update

Sea ice extent in the Arctic is a bit below average this year at mid-winter but there are no data to suggest this situation will have a negative impact on polar bears.

Sea_ice_near_coast_of_Labrador_-b_wikimedia_sm_26 March 2007

[Photo above is sea ice off the coast of Labrador, Canada on 26 March 2007 (from Wikimedia): polar bears in the southern portion of the Davis Strait subpopulation have been particularly successful in recent years because in late March through May/June they hunt abundant numbers of young harp and hooded seals in this habitat]

Polar bear researchers presume that most animals eat little to nothing over the winter, because it explains why even non-pregnant bears are at their lowest weight at the beginning of spring.

Sea ice charts and maps below. Continue reading

Polar bear capital of the world stuck between fear-mongering and science

CBS News published a predictably one-sided “Cover Story” this morning (14 February 2016) about Churchill, Manitoba – the self-proclaimed Polar Bear Capital of the World. 

This is the online version of a Sunday morning TV special that’s not available where I live. It’s yet another example of how the media feeds the politics of polar bears and prevents the advancement of science. Here’s my take on this CBS effort.

Amstrup vs IUCN science_Feb 14 2016_PolarBearScience

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Give your love a polar bear attack thriller for Valentine’s Day

The New York Times has a “Love and Death” theme for their books section this Valentine’s Day weekend – wouldn’t my new novel fit right in?

Valentines Day book cover2_EATEN

In fact, I gave a polar bear lecture to a men’s club a few days ago and two of the guys bought copies of EATEN as Valentine’s gifts for their wives.

One man said, “That’s not wrong, is it?”  Truly, absolutely not!

Most women love a good book. EATEN has several strong female characters that women (and men) will admire. There’s a thread of potential romance that runs through the riveting terror of multiple polar bear attacks – enough to peak a woman’s interest but not so much to put a man off.

The book has been selling well and getting excellent reviews. Soon, EATEN will be on bookshelves across Newfoundland and Labrador – I’ve made a deal with a major Atlantic book distributor who thinks the book will be a good seller. That’s rare for a self-published novel, I can tell you.

So, go ahead – buy EATEN for the one you love and help support the work I do here at PolarBearScience. At Amazon USA here; Barnes and Noble here or the Book Depository (which has free delivery worldwide); Amazon UK here. Other ebook options here.

 

Zoos use polar bears to spur action on climate change – not to save them

Media outlets have recently been having collective orgasms over photos and videos of a three month old polar bear cub born at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, which has again raised the issue of why it is now acceptable for polar bears to be held and bred in captivity.

Zoo bear at Columbus_after birth in November 2015

Newborn polar bear cub ‘Nora’ Columbus Zoo handout

The myth being propagated by zoos and their supporters is that it’s necessary to save polar bears from extinction.

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth – this is all about pressuring people to care about climate change. Polar bears are merely  a marketing tool to spur action on climate change.  That’s not my opinion but the plan put in place in 2012 by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and Polar Bears International.

Oddly, few animal rights activists are objecting (or at least, not objecting very strenuously) to zoo displays of captive polar bear cubs – obvious money-making draws for zoos – which were so vehemently condemned in the 1970s that most zoos gave them up.

Now, the practice is defended and everyone seems to feel this is the greatest thing since the invention of the telephone. [Update 19 February 2016: courtesy the BBC, we can add Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland to the list of zoos using “we’re saving the polar bears” justification for breeding the bears in captivity]

The surprise is that disgraced climate scientist Michael Mann, promoter of the infamous hockey stick of global temperatures, is involved in all this.

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Polar bears roaming Labrador in winter due to climate change, says minister

This is a follow-up to a post on my book blog that I wrote this morning because it’s relevant to the scenario I describe in my novel, set in the year 2025 in northern Newfoundland. I’m cross posting it for the benefit of regular readers here.

It appears that most of the blame for this phenomenon of multiple sightings of hungry bears onshore in the dead of winter (creating havoc and roaming among houses in the coastal Labrador communities of Black Tickle and Charlottetown) has been placed squarely on…climate change. By a government minister. You have to hear this man’s words to believe it.

Labrador south and Fogo Nfld marked

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Polar bear myths perpetuate from the mouth of stuck-in-the-past Ian Stirling

In my last post, I complained about “vague and misleading statements” made by polar bear specialists and conservation advocates. Here’s a recent example of that phenomena, from veteran polar bear biologist Ian Stirling.

 

stirling_UA faculty page photo accessed July 22 2012

The magazine of Canada’s North, UpHere, published an interview with Ian Stirling this month. The piece begins:

“No fear-mongering. No exaggeration. For Ian Stirling, it’s purely about the science.”

Yeah, well – judge for yourself. Here’s a sample:

“We have lost on average about half the sea ice that we had in 1979, which is the first year that satellite coverage of the Arctic was taken [he’s talking about September ice here]. Places like Hudson Bay are breaking up three weeks earlier than they used to and freezing up a couple weeks later. We’re going to have even more significant effects over a much wider area in the Arctic. We’re likely to lose another 30 or 40 percent, or even half of the bears that we have today in the middle of the century, and unchecked, we will likely have very few bears left at the turn of the next century. In 2100, we’ll probably just have a few small remaining pockets in the northern Canadian Arctic islands and northern Greenland.”

Read the rest here.

Stirling’s opinion about polar bears and climate change hasn’t changed since at least 2004 despite the following scientific developments: Continue reading

Many otherwise intelligent people believe only a few hundred polar bears remain

The other day, I got a call from an international journalist who admitted he’d done no research into the polar bear issue but believed, based on media reports he’d heard, that there must only be about 100-200 bears remaining in the Arctic. I know he’s not alone.

polar-bears-3-large_USGS

This journalist was utterly astonished to learn that the IUCN Red List assessment in 2015 put the polar bear population total at 22,000-31,000 bears and demanded proof that this was true.

Here is a summary of the Red List report, with references and links to the report:

The 2015 IUCN Red List assessment update for polar bears (published 18 November 2015) states that the global polar bear population is 22,000 – 31,000 (26,000), that the current trend is ‘unknown’ and that there is only a 70% chance that polar bear numbers will decline by 30% in 35 years (with virtually zero chance that the numbers will decline by 80% or more by 2050) – in other words, zero chance of extinction. [Detailed in a document called 22823 Ursus maritimus]. It classifies the polar bear as ‘vulnerable’ to extinction based on predictions of future sea ice decline due to global warming [similar to ‘threatened’ by other organizations] Pdf here.

Below is a list of what truly worrying species declines look like: that is, animals whose numbers have actually declined, no prophesies involved (Adler 2008).
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