Tag Archives: book review

Polar bear habitat update and attempts to spoil the good news for kids

The trolls are out in force at Amazon, posting negative reviews of my new book, Polar Bear Facts & Myths – they just hate it when credible scientists won’t promote a message of doom. It seems folks of this ilk truly want children to have nightmares about drowning, starving polar bears; they encourage kids to frantically turn out lights in a vain attempt to “Save The Sea Ice” while unbeknownst to them, the polar bears and seals prosper.

I expect those same fear-mongers will really hate my next book, due to be released early next week, because it presents the evidence in a way all readers will understand with the references to back it up. Polar bears and ringed seals are thriving despite recent losses of summer sea ice and there is seemingly a huge body of activists and scientists who don’t want people to know that simple fact.

Coming soon    Polar Bears: Outstanding Survivors of Climate Change

Back to polar bear habitat news, here is the sea ice map for 30 December 2016: Hudson Bay iced-over and lots of ice moving down southern Davis Strait:

Sea ice extent Canada 2016 Dec30_CIS.gif

Compare to last year at this time, when polar bears did not die off in droves anywhere in Canada (or we would have heard about it) – remember that 2/3 of the word’s polar bears live in Canada:

canadian-arctic-dec-30-2015_cis

Colleague says EATEN possibly a real service to polar bear conservation

My last post, on the up-coming International Bear Conference in Anchorage, presents the perfect backdrop for highlighting a wonderfully unbiased review of my polar bear attack thriller, EATEN, penned by a prominent Canadian polar bear researcher who is utterly convinced that future sea ice loss is the biggest threat to the species (and a former student of the grand-daddy of all polar bear researchers, Ian Stirling).

June summer reading sale image3

Here is what polar bear-human interaction specialist Douglas Clark had to say about my novel in his Amazon review (note I did not send Doug a review copy because he did not request one – he bought it himself – so I had no idea this was coming):

Thought-provoking, and possibly a real service to polar bear conservation

His detailed thoughts on the book below.
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“A Harrowing Encounter”- my published review of “Meltdown”

Here’s an excerpt of my just-published review of “Meltdown: Terror at the Top of the World” (the story of the July 2013 polar bear attack in Labrador, Canada), adapted from my November 2014 blog post. The review is called “A Harrowing Encounter” and it’s just out in the Spring 2015 issue of RANGE Magazine.

Polarbear vs dogs_lger_Norbert Rosing photo 2008_Brian Ladoon dogs WHB
In the photo above, a polar bear approaches Brian Ladoon’s Canadian Eskimo Dogs in Churchill, Manitoba – in this case, unlike the hiker described in “Meltdown,” there was a happy ending. Norbert Rosing photo, from this Daily Mail article, 2008 (for more, see also “A priest of dogs and bears” from 2013 and cool video here).

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Another polar bear advocate writes a book: Derocher and Lynch 2012

Polar Bears: A Complete Guide to their Biology and Behavior (2012) Text by Andrew E. Derocher, Photographs by Wayne Lynch, in association with Polar Bears International. Johns Hopkins University Press 264 pp. 153 color photos, 4 maps. 978-1-4214-0305-2    $39.95 hardcover

Here is the promotional description of this book:

“Derocher and Lynch have spent decades following polar bears, and this book offers the most comprehensive and readable review of their biology, ecology, behavior, and conservation.” From the JHUPress catalogue

This statement suggested to me that I would find Andrew Derocher’s new book upbeat and primarily concerned with explaining the biology, behavior and life history of polar bears, as the title suggests. I’d buy a book like that, I thought.

I was also eager to see how Derocher’s effort compared with Ian Stirling’s book that came out last year (2011), which I reviewed in July. The title of Stirling’s book – Polar Bears: The Natural History of a Threatened Species – did at least hint at the advocacy found within.

Would Derocher’s book be substantially different, despite his strident advocacy on display just last month in the press “Bleak future for polar bears, U of A scientists say” and in his most recent co-authored scientific paper (Stirling and Derocher 2012, now in print), that I discussed briefly in my first post? Continue reading

Ian Stirling’s new polar bear book: a review

This review was originally posted June 30, 2012 at my evolution blog here

It was picked up as a guest post at Hilary Ostrov’s blog “The View from Here” July 1, 2012 under the title Of polar bears, polemics and climate warming

THE ORIGINAL REVIEW, RE-POSTED BELOW WITH MY EMPHASIS, HAS AN UPDATE ADDED JULY 26 2012, FOUND BELOW THE REFERENCE LIST

I recently came across a review of Ian Stirling’s latest book Polar Bears: The Natural History of a Threatened Species (2011, Fitzhenry & Whiteside) in the March 2012 issue of the journal Arctic, written by Arctic biologist Steven Ferguson. What is remarkable about Ferguson’s review is not what he says about the book but what he does not: lavish praise for Stirling’s polar bear stories but barely a mention of the book’s dismal predictions for the future. To be fair, all of the photographs in this book are outstanding (some are truly stunning) and the polar bear stories and life history information make for a fascinating read.

However, in reality this is not just a book about polar bears but a polemic discussion about the future of Arctic sea ice. Readers of Ferguson’s review might be surprised to find that there is an entire chapter dedicated to “climate warming” (“the game changer in polar bear conservation” according to Stirling). The climate warming chapter is as eye-catching in its own way as the rest of the book: who could miss the enormous, scary-looking graph predicting summer sea ice declining to zero within the next 90 years (described as a “NSIDC & NASA sea ice decay projection,” taken from Stroeve et al. 2007)? Or the two large photos, from different angles, of a bear that died in 1989 when its winter den collapsed? Oddly, such in-your-face photos and graphics seem not to have impressed Ferguson enough to warrant more than a few words in a list of topics covered (“models of future Arctic change”).

In contrast to Ferguson’s benign and somewhat fawning overview, my impression of the book was quite different.
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