Tag Archives: polar bear

Five years ago today, activist scientists tried to silence me: I’m still here but I need your help

On 29 November 2017, I awoke to find derogatory articles featuring me and my work splashed across newspapers worldwide, part of a coordinated effort to promote a paper published in the journal BioScience. More followed. The paper was a vile attempt by 14 activist scientists to silence me and others, assisted in their unethical attack by an enthusiastic media. But it didn’t work.

I’m still here, in part because of your support, both intellectual and financial. I’ve continued to effectively challenge the baseless rhetoric that polar bears are helpless victims of human-caused global warming by providing fully referenced information without climate fear-mongering. I’ve run this blog for ten years, written numerous scientific reports, a peer-reviewed paper, and a raft of entertaining and informative books.

Now I need a bit more help.

I’ve decided to use this occasion to kick-start a donation drive to help cover production costs of my new polar bear evolution book. In many ways, your enthusiastic support over the years has led me to write this book: the complete story of polar bear evolution, including the role of hybridization, but without the baffling scientific jargon. It will put everything we know about polar bears into evolutionary context–not just the when and where but the why and how.

Nothing like this exists and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I’m on track for publication in early 2023.

I’m asking those of you with the means to help, to assist me in getting this important book across the finish line. Details below.

UPDATE 1 December 2022: GOAL REACHED! What an amazing community this is–$5210 raised in two days. I am truly grateful for your generosity and moral support. Your donations will ensure that this polar bear evolution book gets published quickly and looks professional. Heartfelt thanks to all who participated. I will announce the winners of the special incentive (see below) next Tuesday, 6 December.

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Polar bear specialist calls Hudson Bay freeze-up ‘late’ yet bears were moving offshore 2 weeks ago

Predictably, polar bear specialist Andrew Derocher has finally posted a tracking map of the Western Hudson Bay bears his team has fitted with collars and eartags–two weeks after bears were released from Churchill’s polar bear jail, which is the local signal that there is enough sea ice for bears to leave shore. As I reported two weeks ago, release of jailed bears happened this year on 10 November. And as I predicted in that post, by waiting so long after that event to post his map, Derocher can make it seem to his naive followers on Twitter that the bears are just starting to leave now (the last map he posted was on 11 November, when none of his bears had moved). He reinforces this by calling WH freeze-up “late”, when by all objective measures (including local informants reporting bears on the ice) it was as early as it had been in the 1980s (Castro de la Guardia et al. 2017).

Recall that fall is the second-most important feeding season for polar bears, due to the fact that seals are strongly attracted to newly-forming sea ice. It’s their chance to regain some or all of the weight lost over the summer, before the long winter fast begins (while bears indeed hunt when they can, they are not often successful during the depths of the Arctic winter: most bears are at their lowest weight by March).

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Eastern Canadian Arctic has much more sea ice than usual while Svalbard polar bears deal with less

Svalbard is still ice-free this fall, which it has been rather consistently for at least ten years but the amount of sea ice greater than ‘normal’ in the Eastern Canadian Arctic at this date is something to behold. Yet contrary to predictions, polar bears in Svalbard are thriving.

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Hudson Bay sea ice freeze-up in 2022 like the 1980s for the 5th time since 2015

This is the fifth year out of the last seven that enough sea ice has formed along the west coast of Hudson Bay by mid-November for bears to be able to head out to the ice, just as it did in the 1980s.

‘Green dot’ problem bear released from Churchill holding facility on 10 November 2022. Dorota Walkoski photo.

One of the independent polar bear guides on the ground near Churchill had this to say about the bears and freeze-up conditions this year:

“Bears started leaving on November 10; conservation emptied the jail on the 10th as well.”

‘The jail’ is the Churchill Polar Bear Alert Program’s ‘holding facility’. While the Alert program folks have not released a report for this week (gee, I wonder why?), nearby tourist outfit Great White Bear Tours not only confirmed the bears were released from jail but posted a picture of a ‘green dot bear’: the mark put on problem bears released from the holding facility to keep track of them. Bears are not released before there is ample ice along shore for them to move out. Great White Bear Tours have been tracking bears moving offshore.

This information suggests the average date for bears leaving shore will likely turn out to be 12-14 November, again earlier than the average for the 1980s (16 Nov +/- 5 days) (Castro de la Guardia et al. 2017). That makes five out of the last seven years (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2022) since 2015 that bears have left about the same time as they did in the 1980s.

While there are still be a few bears on the shore of Wapusk National Park that seem to be in no hurry to leave, a few stragglers doesn’t mean there isn’t ice available for hunting.

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Polar bear habitat update: ice forming along Hudson Bay, Wrangel & Franz Josef Islands surrounded

Western Hudson Bay polar bears near Churchill will be able to leave shore within days, at most one week later than in the 1980s, although you wouldn’t know that from the climate change activists at Polar Bears International who have spent the last week promoting some egregiously false and misleading statements. PBI controls the narrative surrounding Western Hudson Bay bears through their partnership with the biggest polar bear tourist outfits in Churchill and online.

Yesterday, it was “See how the climate crisis is changing their world”.

Developing no slower than it did in 2007 (16 years of no change), Arctic sea ice is providing polar bears in southern regions with their second-most critical feeding opportunities while in areas like Wrangel Island and Franz Josef Land, they now have easy access to and from important summer refuge/maternity denning islands. And contrary to predictions of increased ‘conflict’ between polar bears and people around Churchill, there have been fewer problem bear reports there in recent years, this year included. In other words, there is no ‘climate crisis’ for polar bears, even in Western Hudson Bay, and recent models of a dire future for polar bears are based on totally implausible worst-case climate scenarios. Sea ice loss since 1979 has been so gradual that polar bears have been able to adapt, either through natural selection or changes in behaviour.

UPDATE 12 November 2022. One of the independents on the ground near Churchill had this to say about the bears and freeze-up conditions this year:

“Bears started leaving on November 10; conservation emptied the jail on the 10th as well.”

[the 10th was the day this post was originally published; ‘the jail’ is the Churchill Polar Bear Alert Program’s ‘holding facility’, see report below]. This information suggests the average date for bears leaving shore will likely turn out to be 12-14 November, again earlier than the average for the 1980s (16 Nov +/- 5 days). There may still be a few bears on the shore of Wapusk National Park that seem to be in no hurry to leave, but a few stragglers doesn’t mean there isn’t ice available for hunting.

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Polar bear triplet litter spotted near Churchill as ice starts to form along west coast of Hudson Bay

Polar bears, including a litter of triplet cubs (a sign of very good health), are gathering near Churchill, Manitoba where new ice is forming along the coast. This means the fall seal hunt will soon begin, depending on the winds (it might be a few days from now or a few weeks).

See below for some of the images of bears on the shore of Wapusk National Park taken by Explore.org video cams from Tundra Buggy-based cameras, as well as the most recent Churchill problem bear report.

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Allow children to learn about the Arctic without terrifying them with fantasies of climate catastrophe

This is a reminder that I have written three Arctic animal picture books, a polar bear ecology reference book, an Arctic ecology teaching guide (free) & a polar bear attack thriller suitable for teens, all of which let kids be kids.

In contrast to a book reviewer at the New York Times (30 October 2020), see image above:

Two new picture books and a novel for young readers place children at the center of climate calamity. Fittingly, they are stories of homes under threat; home, after all, is the thing climate change stalks, be it a house, a community or a livable planet. Each book offers its own lessons on how to cope with life under the monster we’ve created. The novel even shows how kids can help slay it.

No child needs this. Children need to be allowed to learn without being used as pawns in an adult political battle. Activist authors suggesting that climate change is a predator waiting to ‘stalk’ children’s homes and communities through floods and wildfires is reprehensible, not only because it isn’t true. Kids don’t need a ‘mini-primer on climate change’. Adults should fight their own battles and leave the kids alone. List of my books and links below and in the sidebar.

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Polar bear in good condition visits small Cree community 130km from coast of W. Hudson Bay

The remote and isolated Shamattawa First Nation in Manitoba was threatened last weekend by a large male polar bear in good condition prowling around but the bear was eventually captured near the dump and released near the coast without incident. No one blamed this wandering bear on climate change.

Another bear visited the community in August 2010, also without incident. See map for location and news report excerpts below.

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Western Hudson Bay polar bears waiting for the sea ice to freeze as tourists flock to watch

Should only be a few weeks more until the ice forms along the western shore of Hudson Bay, it’s already been snowing. But for the tourist outfitters around Churchill, this is their time to profit from those willing and able to spend big money to see polar bears up close.

from the Explore.org web cam, 18 October 2022

Those tourists are captive audiences for the global warming propaganda provided by activist organization Polar Bears International: it’s virtually impossible for anyone to escape the climate change doom-mongering in Churchill and that’s a real pity.

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New polar bear hunting habitat forming already along the coast of the Laptev Sea: A new trend?

Not even three weeks after the yearly minimum of sea ice extent was reached this year, new shorefast ice is already forming off the coast of Siberia, which is critical fall hunting habitat for polar bears.

Polar bears on a seal kill in new ice, 31 October 2020 in W. Hudson Bay via webcam.

So, not only was this year’s sea ice extent for September at the very lowest extreme of predicted levels for late summer, given ever-increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, new ice seems to be forming earlier in the fall as well, which bodes well for winter ice formation. It’s looking to me like the decade-long increasing trend of September ice extent since 2012 (see below) may indicate a change more biologically relevant to ice-dependent Arctic animals than the zero trend since 2007.

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