CBC News this morning (“Grolar or pizzly? Experts say rare grizzly-polar bear hybrid shot in Nunavut: Expert says interbreeding may be happening more frequently due to climate change“) suggests that a putative grizzly x polar bear hybrid bear shot outside Arviat in Western Hudson Bay is a sign of climate change, based on an interview with a black bear expert from Minnesota.
This bogus claim has been busted so many times it’s a wonder it still arises – even polar bear specialist Ian Stirling has said flat out that such hybrids are not due to climate change. On top of that, some of the details regarding this putative hybrid make me want to wait for confirmation from DNA testing before adding it to the roster of known hybrids.
Posted in Advocacy, Hybridization, Sea ice habitat
Tagged Arviat, CBC, climate change, Garshelis, grizzly polar bear, grolar, hybrid, Nunavut, pizzly, range expansion, sea ice
From NunatsiaqOnline yesterday, a detailed description of a polar bear attack that took place along Hudson Strait, within the Davis Strait polar bear subpopulation.
Kootoo Shaw was wearing nothing but long johns and a T-shirt when a 400-pound polar bear dragged him by his toes along the tundra towards the ocean outside Kimmirut in September 2003.
Shaw, 46, was working as a guide on a sport-hunting trip when the attack occurred in the early morning. Continue reading
Posted in Polar bear attacks
Tagged attacks, Davis Strait, facts, Iqaluit, Kimmirut, Kootoo Shaw, male, Nunavut, polar bear, subadult, summer
In a polite but misleading article today in a BBC magazine (The polar bears are coming to town) about the relationship of polar bears and Inuit in Arviat, Western Hudson Bay, there is no mention of the on-going feud between Nunavut Inuit and Canadian polar bear scientists regarding invasive research.
Nor is there a mention of the fact that according to the most recent research, there has been no trend in sea ice conditions since 2001.
Posted in Polar bear attacks, Population, Sea ice habitat
Tagged Arviat, BBC, breakup, freeze-up, invasive research, Lunn, mark-recapture, Nunavut, polar bear, sea ice, Tyrrell, western hudson bay
From the CBC this morning, we have the report of a female polar bear and her cub paying a visit to an Nunavut campsite near Chesterfield Inlet in northwestern Hudson Bay, which is technically within the boundary of the Foxe Basin polar bear subpopulation.
Maggie Putulik photo, 29 July 2015 Chesterfield Inlet, Nunavut.
These are not the desperate bear victims of global warming we have been warned about by polar bear specialists but well-fed curious ursids not averse to an easy meal if there’s one to be had. Such bears are easily deterred by a loud noise. Note this was the second visit by polar bears this Nunavut family had experienced at this location within a three-week period – two other bears had stopped by earlier. Note that ice in this region of Hudson Bay broke up earlier than usual this year yet these bears seem to be in fine condition and can expect the first fall ice of the season (freeze-up) to appear in their neighbourhood, see maps below.
Posted in Polar bear attacks, Sea ice habitat
Tagged breakup, CBC, Chesterfield Inlet, cub, Foxe Basin, freeze-up, Hudson Bay, Nunavut, onshore, polar bear, problem bears, Putulik, sea ice, summer
“Heavy ice in Hudson Bay derails CCGS Amundsen’s research plans” – just in from the CBC (22 July 2015, via Twitchy). Worst ice in 20 years.
[original caption for the above photo: “The CCGS Pierre Radisson escorts the oil tanker Havelstern to Iqaluit July 17. Tough ice conditions in area have delayed this summer’s annual resupply, and have now derailed the CCGS Amundsen from its carefully planned summer research program.”]
“Worst ice conditions in 20 years force change of plans to icebreaker research program“
That would be 1992 they’re talking about, the cold year that everyone blamed on the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. Unfortunately, there are no good detailed ice maps from 1992 (see previous post here). What’s the excuse this year?
CCGS Amundsen is an icebreaker that is usually released from duty to serve as an Arctic research vessel in the summer. And who’s on board? GEOTRACES 2015 Arctic Expedition out of the University of British Columbia with a plan to study (in part) global warming caused “ocean acidification.” Their short blog post shows a map without ice and not a hint they see the irony of the situation.
Here’s the ice they’re talking about (from the Canadian Ice Service), with the communities mentioned in the study marked:
Sea ice at 22 July 2015, with Inukjuak, Eastern Hudson Bay, and Iqaliuk, Baffin Island, marked. CIS map. Click to enlarge.
Posted in Sea ice habitat
Tagged Coast Guard, Davis Strait, Derocher, heavy ice, Hudson Bay, ice breakers, Inukjuak, Iqualiuk, Newfoundland, Nunavut, polar bear, science, sea ice, summer, UBC
A few days ago polar bear biologist Mitch Taylor and Nunavut’s Gabriel Niryungaluk talked to Toronto radio host Roy Green about the recent USGS dire model predictions for the future of polar bears.
There’s an audio podcast and, courtesy of the valuable efforts of fellow blogger Alex Cull, a transcript. Links below, plus some excerpts of Mitch Taylor’s commentary.
Posted in Conservation Status, Population
Tagged Alex Cull, climate change, crystal ball, extinction, future, Gabriel Niryungaluk, global warming, greenhouse gases, imminent danger, Mitch Taylor, models, Nunavut, opinion, polar bear, population size, predictions, radio interview, sea ice, threatened, transcript, USGS
Last week, among other events, the first fat polar bear of the season was photographed on shore in Western Hudson Bay, a fat bear was run out of town in South Greenland, and media outlets spread misinformation – apparently preferring global warming hype to rational facts.
1) First polar bears have been seen onshore in Western Hudson Bay in Wapusk National Park near Cape Churchill (map below) on 18 June this year, apparently fat and well prepared for the summer fast. My informants tell me a few bears usually come ashore in June near Churchill before ice conditions make this necessary; the bulk of the population will probably continue seal hunting for a few more weeks. Those bears will come ashore along the southwest coast (near Polar Bear Provincial Park, in Ontario, see Fig. 2 below). They’ll make their way north to the Churchill area in time for freeze-up in the fall. Watch one fat bear caught on camera on 18 June, below :
2) Fat polar bear spotted in Nanortalik, Southern Greenland 18 June 2015, a bit further south than usual. People from the community drove it away, but not before taking lots of pictures.
Some very cool photos, including the one above (taken by Henrik Hansen), worth a look. This bear was in excellent condition, well prepared for the summer fast ahead, whether he ends up spending it on shore somewhere (but not near this community!) or on the sea ice further north in SE Greenland (Fig. 1 below). The ice in that areas is probably broken up (~15-30% concentration) but this is enough for the bear to swim from flow to flow to make it’s way up the northeast coast where most East Greenland bears spend the summer.
Posted in Conservation Status, Summary
Tagged breakup, Churchill, climate change, East Greenland, global warming, grizzly, grizzly bears, habitat, Henrik Hansen, hybrids, Nunavut, polar bear, Polar Bears International, polarbearscience, population estimate, problem bears, radio, sea ice, sea ice declines, Wapusk National Park, western hudson bay, WWF
I have finally secured a copy of the 2013 Western Hudson Bay mark-recapture study produced by Environment Canada.
The pertinent figure is below: as you can see, there was no declining trend in Western Hudson Bay polar bears between 2000 and 2011. Click to enlarge.
I have relatives visiting so I don’t have time to do an in-depth summary but the report’s opening “Summary” is copied below and a pdf provided. More later when I have had time to look at it more closely. Background on the issue here.
Posted in Advocacy, Conservation Status, Population
Tagged Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, Lunn, mark-recapture, misleading, Nunavut, polar bears, population estimates, Regehr, stable population, Stirling, western hudson bay, withholding data
Leading polar bear biologists knew by November 2013 that mark-recapture studies showed the Western Hudson Bay subpopulation had not changed appreciably since 2004 but none said so. This includes Steven Amstrup and Ian Stirling at Polar Bears International, Andrew Derocher (University of Alberta), and Nick Lunn (Canadian Wildlife Service), all of whom are (or have been) extensively involved in Western Hudson Bay polar bear research and have made recent statements to the media on this topic.
More details have emerged about the status of Western Hudson Bay (WHB) polar bears (reported a few days ago here), reported this morning in NunatsiaqOnline, excerpts below.
The story reveals that there are two Canadian Wildlife Service (Environment Canada) reports containing population estimates of Western Hudson Bay polar bears – one produced in 2011 and another in November 2013 (reversing the 2011 conclusion) – that have not been made public.
[In contrast, Nunavut Government reports on their 2011 population estimate, based on aerial surveys, were made public in both draft and final report formats (and have since been peer-reviewed and published)]
The conclusion of the 2013 report, quoted in this mornings article, suggests that some of our most vocal polar bear specialists have been misleading the public about the status of the Western Hudson Bay population for the last year.
Posted in Advocacy, Conservation Status, Population
Tagged Amstrup, Canadian Wildlife Service, Derocher, Environment Canada, Lunn, mark-recapture, misleading, Nunavut, polar bears, population estimates, stable population, Stirling, western hudson bay, withholding data
Slowly but surely, word is leaking out: the Western Hudson Bay polar bear population is stable at ~1000 bears, confirming the good news contained in maps posted on the Environment Canada website a few months ago (discussed by me here and here). Environment Canada has apparently been giving presentations in local Western Hudson Bay communities relaying their decision.
Courtesy IUCN PBSG
Yesterday, a press release was issued by one of the official Inuit organizations in Nunavut announcing the new official status of the Western Hudson Bay polar bear population.