Problem polar bears of Churchill: first report of the season similar to 2016

The first activity report of the Churchill Polar Bear Alert Program has been released for 2017. It comes on the same week as last year’s (so about the same dates for first bears ashore both years), and reports pretty much the same activity.

Churchill PB reports_week 1_ July 10-16_July 2017

Odd that this year’s report contains no mention whatsoever of the condition of the bears as did last year’s (see below), which may have brought criticism for spoiling the media ‘message’ that WHB bears are suffering because of reduced sea ice. Better no comment at all than good news, eh?

Sea ice for the week of 10 July off Western Hudson Bay this year consisted of a broad strip of thick first year ice (>1.2m thick) just off shore.

Hudson Bay weekly ice stage of development 2017 July 10

The ice charted above looked like this on a standard ice map:

Sea ice Canada 2017 July 11

There are no other reports that I could find of polar bears ashore along the coast of Western Hudson Bay, so these bears must be the first wave.

Last year’s problem report, for comparison:

2016 July 11_17_bears off the ice

Last year’s sea ice at 11 July 2016 was much more extensive but that failed to impact the dates ashore for polar bears, who left the ice about the same time, in excellent condition:

Sea ice extent Canada 2016 July 11_CIS_HB cropped

The map for this week (12 July) is not much different than last:

Hudson Bay weekly ice stage of development 2017 July 17

As the map above shows, the ice is still thick but it’s breaking up and becoming less concentrated:

Hudson Bay weekly ice concentration 2017 July 17

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