At recent meeting of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), biologists decided to continue to list the polar bear as a species of ‘Special Concern.’ About 2/3 of the world’s polar bears live in Canada and the balance of all evidence (including Inuit knowledge) indicate the bears are not threatened with extinction. The bears have held this status since 1991.
Details from the 3 December 2018 press release below.
“To hunt seals, its most important food source, these bears use sea-ice and some of the same sit-and-wait techniques familiar to ice fishers. Predictions for longer and longer ice-free Arctic summers will make seal hunting much more difficult for Polar Bear.
However, Inuit, who know the species well, are cautiously optimistic, suggesting that the bear’s adaptability may save it, even if seals become more difficult to capture.
In its assessment, COSEWIC took account both of extensive Indigenous knowledge and western science, and determined the Polar Bear’s status to be Special Concern.
While not currently threatened with extinction, the species faces an uncertain future.
Graham Forbes, Co-chair of the subcommittee charged with assessing the bear’s outlook, summed up the deliberations: “It is clear we will need to keep a close eye on this species. Significant change is coming to its entire range.”
The species will be re-assessed by COSEWIC within the next decade.”
Read the rest here.