Posted onApril 23, 2023|Comments Off on Netflix polar bear star dies in Svalbard days after being tranquilized; her orphaned cub is shot
Early in the morning on Good Friday (7 April), a mature polar bear sow with a cub at heal was chased with snowmobiles away from a recreation area used by locals on the west coast but drowned after she escaped into the water. Her cub, likely a yearling male, attacked authorities trying to retrieve her body and was shot.
Posted onApril 19, 2023|Comments Off on ‘Less ice means more conflicts with polar bears’ narrative not supported by scientific evidence
In another failed prediction, a new study on the number of polar bears killed in self-defense in Svalbard, Norway did not find the expected correlation with lack of sea ice or more tourists (Vongraven et al. 2023). Contrary to expectations, fewer bears were actually killed in self-defence as sea ice declined between 1987 and 2019.
Money Quote from the abstract:
“…ice cover had no significant impact on the odds for a [polar bear] kill.”
“Poor ice conditions for polar bears at Svalbard this year. Low ice will make tough hunting conditions this coming spring. Time to plan for more human-bear conflicts unless conditions change.” [13 Feb 2023 tweet, my bold]
Posted onFebruary 17, 2023|Comments Off on Low mid-winter polar bear habitat in Barents Sea spawns warnings of more human-bear conflicts
There’s abundant sea ice in the Bering, Greenland and Labrador Seas, although less than usual in the Barents Sea because strong winds drove the ice north. Any time there is a bit less sea ice than usual the catastrophists begin caterwauling but this time the rhetoric is a little different.
Posted onJanuary 4, 2023|Comments Off on Inuit in Arctic Canada now observing higher numbers of polar bears, says government report
A 2021 publication by the government of Canada released last month called Species at Riskin Nunavut says the region is “now observing higher numbers of polar bears“, and that management goals are “more focused on maintaining or reducing numbers in communities and in sensitive areas (i.e. bird colonies)“. Local Inuit are said to be “concerned about the increasing number of encounters and property damages” caused by polar bears.
Polar bears in Canada are considered a species of ‘special concern’ (COSEWIC 2018), not threatened as they are in the USA. See the map of Nunavut below.
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.
Posted onNovember 4, 2022|Comments Off on 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.
Posted onOctober 4, 2022|Comments Off on Good news update out of W Hudson Bay: fat polar bears are behaving themselves
Despite continued dire predictions of catastrophy, polar bears in Western Hudson Bay are behaving like the well-fed predators on holiday they are: bears are causing few problems in Churchill and poking around Arviat, seemingly out of curiousity rather than actively stalking prey.
Bears are chased out of Western Hudson Bay communities due to an abundance of caution but so far, no frightening encounters have been reported that I’ve heard about. That’s true elsewhere as well: an uneventful summer for polar bear attacks is good news indeed.
Meanwhile, no further reports from Churchill about problem bears: the last one issued was for the first week in August. Time will tell at freeze-up whether this will be yet another very good year for Western Hudson Bay bears.
Funny how these reports in recent years (these included) don’t mention the condition of bears the way they used to as recently as 2017 (or the state of the sea ice). I guess it’s so they can’t be used as evidence against the prevailing mantra that western Hudson Bay polar bears that spend the summer onshore are starving because of the lack of ice due to human-caused global warming!
Posted onApril 30, 2022|Comments Off on Explaining abundant polar bear sightings on the East Coast as an upshot of sea ice loss is absurd
Last week, a senior producer at CBC News, in order to concoct a timely story for ‘Earth Day’, attempted to explain the high number of sightings of polar bears this April in Newfoundland and Labrador, compared to the last two years, as a consequence of climate change and its handmaiden, loss of Arctic sea ice.
Title: ‘With an extinction threat looming, no wonder polar bears are at our door — and on the roof: there’s a grim reason why polar bears have been frequently showing up in coastal communities’. CBC News, 23 April 2022
In fact, the two years with the most sightings and problems with polar bears since 2008 were 2017 and 2018: in 2017, sea ice was exceptionally thick in April (although average in extent) and by June the sea ice was so thick and enduring that the Newfoundland fishing fleet couldn’t get out for spring openings; 2018 was another year of average sea ice extent and had even an even larger number of sightings than 2017, in Newfoundland especially (Crockford 2019:32). This suggests the sea ice vs. polar bear correlation on the East Coast since 2008 – if there even is one – may be the opposite of that stated in the CBC article: less ice usually means fewer bears onshore in Newfoundland and Labrador and more ice often means more bears.
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