In case you missed it buried in the details of my rebuttal two weeks ago about Facebook labelling a short PragerU polar bear video as “false information”, in his review of the video (18 May 2020) Canadian polar bear biologist Ian Stirling revealed that a recent survey of M’Clintock Channel polar bears documented a population increase. The problem is we have no scientific details about the survey – apparently completed four years ago, in 2016 – because the final report has not been made public (COSEWIC 2018, pp. 42-43; Crockford 2020).
Stirling stated in the review:
“…a couple [subpopulations] are doing OK, such as Foxe Basin and Davis Straight, and one seems to be increasing (M’Clintock Channel).”
This good news about M’Clintock Channel is not a huge surprise: in 2019, the Polar Bear Specialist Goup assessed the M’Clintock Channel population in 2019 as ‘very likely increased’ since the previous estimate calculated in 2006 (Taylor et al. 2006) but without any recent publication cited to support that determination.
Clearly, the revised status of M’Clintock Channel polar bears has been known within the polar bear research community since at least September 2019 (when the PBSG status table was publish online) but the report has been withheld from the public and the rest of the scientific community. Despite the good news and with all due respect to lead researcher Markus Dyck, polar bear population estimates are infrequent enough without it taking more than four years to complete a report.
NOTE: See previous post here Global polar bear population larger than previous thought – almost 30,000 [discusses the polar bear subpopulation estimates that were not included in the 2015 IUCN Red List assessment because they had not yet been published, which will now have to be adjusted to include the M’Clintock Channel numbers, whenever those are made public]
Crockford, S.J. 2020. State of the Polar Bear Report 2019. Global Warming Policy Foundation Report 39, London. PDF here.
COSEWIC. 2018. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Polar Bear Ursus maritimus in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. PDF here.
Taylor, M.K., Laake, J., McLoughlin, P.D., Cluff, H.D., and Messier, F. 2006. Demography parameters and harvest-explicit population viability analysis for polar bears in M’Clintock Channel, Nunavut, Canada. Journal of Wildlife Management 70:1667-1673. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.2193/0022-541X%282006%2970%5B1667:DPAHPV%5D2.0.CO;2/abstract