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.
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.
The ice charted above looked like this on a standard ice map:
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:
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:
The map for this week (12 July) is not much different than last:
As the map above shows, the ice is still thick but it’s breaking up and becoming less concentrated: