Fact check: Polar bears breaking through thin ice is not evidence of climate change, it’s a drone chase

This morning, self-professed ‘climate campaigner’ Mike Hudema posted a short video of two polar bears seemingly struggling to survive as they repeatedly break through newly-formed ice, with the message “Polar bears are up against a huge problem. They are losing their habitat. As the Arctic becomes increasingly warm & sea ice disappears its harder to find a mate & food.

This was clearly designed to elicit an emotional response from viewers but it’s every bit as manipulative and false as the video of the emaciated polar bear shamelessly promoted by National Geographic as ‘what climate change looks like’, which I describe in detail in my new book, Fallen Icon (Crockford 2022a).

The truth is that these bears were not struggling to survive: they were chasing a drone. The original video (2:55m long) was posted by ‘LADBible’ on 18 January 2020, which took me all of 30 seconds to locate via an Internet search. The title of the original video is Polar Bears Chase Drone Camera Through Ice (2:55m) and the description is: “When these polar bears discovered a drone was watching them, they decided to give chase through the ice.”

Hudema truncated the video down to 25 seconds for his tweet. He was being deliberately dishonest by posting this footage with his message: the entire thing is a falsehood.

While there are implausible predictions that polar bears may in the future struggle to survive due to declining sea ice (e.g. Amstrup et al. 2007), polar bears are currently thriving (Crockford 2019, 2022b). One reason they are thriving is that a longer open-water season at the end of summer allows more phytoplankton growth, which means more food for the entire Arctic food chain, including polar bears (Crockford 2020).

In other words, contrary to predictions, areas where recent summer sea ice loss has been the greatest (especially the Barents Sea and Chukchi Sea), polar bears are doing better than expected, and better than they were when sea ice coverage was greater (Lippold et al. 2020; Rode et al. 2018).

Hudema is blatantly wrong as well as dishonest: scientific facts do not back up his assertions. Just more evidence that these climate activists will stop at nothing to promote their ludicrous agenda and groundless beliefs.

PS. Here is a similar video (from December 2019) of Russian polar bear cubs playing on thin ice, as they learn how to deal with an ever-present aspect of their environment:


Amstrup, S.C., Marcot, B.G. & Douglas, D.C. 2007. Forecasting the rangewide status of polar bears at selected times in the 21st century. US Geological Survey. Reston, VA. Pdf here

Crockford, S.J. 2019. The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened. Global Warming Policy Foundation, London. Available in paperback and ebook formats.

Crockford, S.J. 2020. State of the Polar Bear Report 2019. Global Warming Policy Foundation Report 39, London. pdf here.

Crockford, S.J. 2022a. Fallen Icon: Sir David Attenborough and the Walrus Deception. Amazon KDP.

Crockford, S.J. 2022b. The State of the Polar Bear 2021. Global Warming Policy Foundation Note 29, London. pdf here.

Lippold, A., Bourgeon, S., Aars, J., Andersen, M., Polder, A., Lyche, J.L., Bytingsvik, J., Jenssen, B.M., Derocher, A.E., Welker, J.M. and Routti, H. 2019. Temporal trends of persistent organic pollutants in Barents Sea polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in relation to changes in feeding habits and body condition. Environmental Science and Technology 53(2):984-995.

Rode, K. D., R. R. Wilson, D. C. Douglas, V. Muhlenbruch, T.C. Atwood, E. V. Regehr, E.S. Richardson, N.W. Pilfold, A.E. Derocher, G.M Durner, I. Stirling, S.C. Amstrup, M. S. Martin, A.M. Pagano, and K. Simac. 2018. Spring fasting behavior in a marine apex predator provides an index of ecosystem productivity. Global Change Biology 24:410-423. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.13933/full

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