Polar bears becoming a problem in some Arctic towns – survey accuracy questioned

This interesting article shows the information and perception gap between scientists that do helicopter surveys of polar bears and the native people who co-exist in their presence.

Excerpts:

In a news release issued after its conference last July, the PBSG concluded that only one of 19 total polar bear subpopulations is currently increasing, three are stable and eight are declining. Data was insufficient to determine numbers for the remaining seven subpopulations. The group estimated that the total number of polar bears is somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000. (Estimates of the population during the 1950s and 1960s, before harvest quotas were enacted, range from 5,000 to 10,000.)

Not so fast. According to a U.S. Senate and Public Works Committee report, the “alarm about the future of polar bear decline is based on speculative computer model predictions many decades in the future. Those predictions are being “challenged by scientists and forecasting experts,” said the report.

Those challenges, supported by facts on the ground, including observations from Inuit hunters in the region, haven’t stopped climate fear-mongers at the U.S. Geological Survey from proclaiming that future sea ice conditions “will result in the loss of approximately two-thirds of the world’s current polar bear population by the mid 21st century.”

Harry Flaherty, chair of the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board in the capital of Iqaluit, says the polar bear population in the region, along the Davis Strait, has doubled during the past 10 years. He questions the official figures, which are based to a large extent on helicopter surveys.

“Scientists do a quick study one to two weeks in a helicopter, and don’t see all the polar bears. We’re getting totally different stories [about the bear numbers] on a daily basis from hunters and harvesters on the ground,” he says.

The growing population has become “a real problem,” especially over the last 10 years, he says. During the summer and fall, families enjoying outdoor activities must be on the look-out for bears. Many locals invite along other hunters for protection.

Last year, in Pelly Bay, all the bears that were captured were caught in town, Nirlungayuk says. “You now have polar bears coming into towns, getting into cabins, breaking property and just creating havoc for people up here,” he says.

Flaherty and many others disagree with the official story. “We are aware there are changes in the weather, but it is not affecting the daily life of the animals,” he says. “Polar bears hunt in the floe-edge areas, on newly formed ice, and in the fiords in search of baby seals. They don’t hunt in the glaciers [areas of multi-year ice].

“We’re not seeing negative effects on the polar bear population from so-called climate change and receding ice,” he says. He is convinced that some scientists are deliberately “using the polar bear issue to scare people” about global warming, a view widely shared by many Nunavut locals.

Read the entire article here, it is quite enlightening

 

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163 Responses to Polar bears becoming a problem in some Arctic towns – survey accuracy questioned

  1. ThePowerofX says:

    [Using multiple screen names violate site Policy. ~dbs, mod.]

  2. AnonyMoose says:

    “January 8, 2010″ – I wonder how the locals are doing now.

  3. Martin Brumby says:

    Ah yes. But the Nunavut locals are talking about real polar bears. They don’t count.

    The U.S. Geological Survey and all the Thermageddonists are using their computers to count VIRTUAL polar bears.

    Those are the ones that are important and they are in serious danger.

    Trust me.

  4. pat says:

    In the cold is warming logic of warmists, this is a very bad sign indeed.

  5. Frank K. says:

    “You now have polar bears coming into towns, getting into cabins, breaking property and just creating havoc for people up here,” he says.

    Perhaps we can have Greenpeace, WWF, the IPCC and the USGS babysit some live polar bears in their offices for a few days – you know, since they’re SO cuddly and all…

  6. Steve In S.C. says:

    I need to get a Polar Bear Rug!

  7. Rhys Jaggar says:

    Once I read the bit saying the declines were the projections of computer modellers, all became clear.

    I’m more likely to trust those confronted with a real beast.

  8. Oso Politico says:

    I can bear it no longer – just the bare facts, please…

  9. Philip T. Downman says:

    A population of any species that becomes large enough is threatened by epizooties (called epidemics when it is our own species) So the polar bears may be the victims of a population collapse some day soon, but for the “wrong” reason – due to population increase

  10. oldseadog says:

    A pity we can’t catch some and let them loose in Westminster, Brussels, Washington DC., Canberra etc.

    On second thoughts, they would get indigestion eating all the thick skinned politicians, so probably this would constitute cruelty to animals.

  11. TheGoodLocust says:

    Ach mein Gott!!

    It is worse than we thought! The starving polar bears must now be going to towns to forage since the sea is no longer safe for them.

  12. GP Hanner says:

    Polar bears are the only true carnivores among the ursines. Seals are their livlihood and meat is what they eat. What genetic testing has been done suggests that polar bears evolved from brown bears some 100,000 to 250,000 years ago. Paleantologists tend to confirm the evolution. In short, these bears are highly adaptable and the gene pool can be expected to survive whatever the conditions they face.

  13. Next Christmas’ news report from the Suzuki Foundation:

    “Hi…this is David Suzuki reporting from the North Pole where the few polar bears that are left are starving. Send me money so I can feed them, or others may suffer a similar fate as Santa did last year – http://www.guy-sports.com/fun_pictures/polar_bear_christmas.jpg

  14. A year or two ago, I think the BBC did a news-bite on the scavenging polar bears in Churchill – not forgetting to add the inevitable health warning, the line being that there were no more baby seals due to global warning. I’m pretty sure that none of the footage was shot in a Dutch zoo.

  15. Roy UK says:

    This article is from almost 2 years ago. The warmist will say polar bear numbers have declined since then.

  16. Gail Combs says:

    I loved the story told by one “native Guide” about how the polar baears Hide when they hear the helicopters because the scientists have darted and examined so many of the bears. Momma’s also teach their babies to hide.

    They also disappear at the sound of the truck engines used by the scientists. No dumbs them.

  17. Gail Combs says:

    Here is the story:

    …Results of this study indicate that in less than ten years, the western Hudson Bay polar bear population has dropped from around 1200 polar bears to 950 polar bears. A 20% decline is definitely alarming and seemingly proof of the detrimental effects of climate change.

    But, of course, there is a slightly different theory in Churchill. People up here are seeing more mothers with cubs (including triplets) and just generally more bears – this, of course, could be due to changing wildlife patterns but a lot of people up here simply believe that bears are learning to recognize the sound of helicopters and this affects the research results.

    When I used to drive for Tundra Buggy, you could recognize when helicopters were approaching before any human could see or hear it. Every bear in the area would raise its head and some would even get up and walk or run away; quite confusing for the human observer, that is, until the helicopter appears about thirty seconds later.

    I have also seen bears recognize and hide from the Polar Bear Alert truck and hunker down in a clump of willows when the helicopter is called out to relocate a problem bear. Many bears learn through only one repetition and many people up here think that polar bears have simply learned to hide from the helicopter. (If mothers can teach cubs to return annually to the garbage dump, why not teach them to avoid a dart in the neck?)….

    http://www.polarbearalley.com/polar-bear-blog-august20.html

  18. Latitude says:

    Estimates of the population during the 1950s and 1960s, before harvest quotas were enacted, range from 5,000 to 10,000
    The group estimated that the total number of polar bears is somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000.
    “will result in the loss of approximately two-thirds of the world’s current polar bear population by the mid 21st century.”
    ==================================================================
    13,000 – 17,000………………………………

  19. Bob, Missoula says:

    Is there no way to hold organizations like the US Geological Survey to account for shoddy even false reporting?

  20. Jim Hodgen says:

    They are shopping… they just want the industrialized countries to pay for it… Wow, they ARE quick learners.

  21. Poriwoggu says:

    Lets look at some known facts:
    1. There are about 25,000 polar bears
    2. Polar bear’s normal lifespan (natural causes) is 25 years.
    3. Over 1000 polar bears are killed by people every year.

    Somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of the polar bears are killed by people (depends on the average age of killed polar bears). The polar bear population is at a size where the number of new polar bears just compensates for the number of old polar bears + polar bears that get too close to people.

    If you want more polar bears, something drastic has to be done about the human population in the arctic.

  22. Not an impressive rebuttal. “But the bears are getting into our garbage cans!” is on the same level as, “But it snowed really hard last winter!” Too impressionistic to take seriously.

    When I lived in SE Alaska, taking a gun when you go into some parts of the mountains was pretty much Standard Operating Procedure. I doubt this is new for the Eskimos, either.

  23. Matthew W says:

    Try telling this to Coca Cola !!!

    http://www.livepositively.com/#/arctic_home
    “Coca-Cola is helping to establish a safe refuge for the polar bear”
    They already have one……… THE ARCTIC !!!!!

  24. ferd berple says:

    Why, if warming is a threat to polar bears, are polar bear cubs born in time for spring?

    If ice is important for polar bears to feed the cubs, why are the cubs not born in time for fall/winter when the ice forms? Doesn’t this tell us that warm weather is a benefit to the cubs?

    Why is it that scientists that supposedly study polar bears never mention that the cubs come out in the spring, when the ice is melting? If warming makes it difficult for polar bears to feed the cubs, then evolution would have eliminated spring births in polar bears and replaced it with fall births.

    This argues strongly that scientists and the WWF that suggest warming is bad for polar bears have not bothered to actually check this with the polar bears to see what they prefer.

  25. Old Suzuki must be having a conniption fit!! How dare the indigenous people actually behave like indigenous people!! Bollocks. More lazy armchair surveyors flying around in choppers looking for bears whose natural camoflage would make them hard to spot, essentially a bunch of taxpayer-funded adventurers.

  26. From the “Proceedings of the 15th Working Meeting (2009) of the IUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialist Group – page 102 – Table 6. From 2003 to 2008, in Canada alone, a total of 3,461 polar bears were killed by “human-caused mortalities, including subsistence kills, sport-hunt kills, problem kills, illegal kills, and bears that die while being handled during research.”

    Given the total polar bear population is estimated in the 20,000 to 25,000 range, this means factors other than climate change (e.g. bears that died during research) killed between 14.5% and 17.3% of the total population.

    I suggest if polar bears are in jeopardy at all, then I think it’s clear that hunting, not global warming is the primary human cause of any decline in population.

    Source – http://pbsg.npolar.no/export/sites/pbsg/en/docs/Outcome_MOP2009.pdf

  27. DRE says:

    The polar population is actually decreasing…the polar bears have just learned to tele-connect.

  28. John F Bruno says:

    Just a few points of clarification. I am an ecologists, and although I don’t work on polar bears, I recently spent time in Churchill Canada with some of the world’s leading polar bear experts including Steve Amstrup, Andrew Derocher and Greg Thiemann.

    These scientists and others working on polar bears don’t track population dynamics simply by occasionally counting them from helicopters as this article suggests. Instead – like all population biologists – a number of “vital rates” of bear populations are estimated and used to develop a demographic model. Such rates include age and sex specific mortality, other measures of fitness like growth, reproductive success, movement patterns and other aspects of habitat usage, etc. This involves intensive year around monitoring of individual bears, eg via satellite tags, den surveys that determine how many cubs are born each year, and a large number of bear captures to tag bears and collect a huge amount of physical data from them. All of this data and the model it is fed into is used to estimate the population growth rate; is the populations growing, stable or shrinking, and at what rate? And beyond that, just like human demographers, wildlife biologists can use data like this to build a population age structure, sex ratios, etc that can tell us a lot about the future prospects of the population.

    Regarding the point that “alarm about the future of polar bear decline is based on speculative computer model predictions many decades in the future. Those predictions are being “challenged by scientists and forecasting experts,” said the report.” Go take a look at ice trend data, eg on Hudson Bay (https://sites.google.com/site/arcticseaicegraphs/): those “speculative” models are looking pretty prescient. The environmental changes all the local people I spoke with around Churchill are striking; red foxes moving northward and displacing the arctic fox, much warmer temps and later sea freeze up, etc.

    And what about those “facts on the ground, including observations from Inuit hunters in the region”. Two things. One, hunters obviously don’t want more hunting restrictions placed on them, so it isn’t surprising they are making this argument. Two; their observations are concordant with what polar bear scientists are documenting in many coastal communities such as in Churchill – but the thing is, this seems to be due to a loss of habitat rather than an increase in bear populations. The winter freeze up on Hudson Bay is getting later. This year it didn’t happen until mid-December. As a result, the bears congregate along the shore (where the towns and people are) each fall for a longer period waiting for the thaw. I witnessed this phenomena in November. Additionally, the reduced hunting period (bears need solid sea ice to hunt their seal prey) make the bears desperate for food, and some come into towns looking for anything to break the fast that began last June. Bear feeding for tourism may also be contributing to the problem.

    I just wanted to end by saying that I know there are a lot of smart people that read this website. I have met Anthony and I know he is a sharp cookie too. But I know the polar bear scientist doing this work and they are really smart as well. They actually know what they are doing and many have been working on these populations for decades. They are hunters, empiricists, and bad ass outdoorsmen – certainly not the crazed and dopey “alarmists” skeptics like to portray them as. There is a lot we don’t know about polar bears and how climate change is affecting them, but the available science as well as observations by local people all agree that global warming is taking a toll and at least the more southern populations are indeed very threatened.

  29. ferd berple says:

    Images of the Arctic ice shelf cracking up are an icon of the damage wrought by global warming.

    But a team of researchers from the Universite Laval in Canada have found evidence that one ice shelf might have broken up before, 1,400 years ago – long before industrialisation had any impact on the planet.

    Researchers used carbon dating and other techniques to examine the sediment and were able to create a timeline of events.

    They found the ice shelf appeared 4,000 years ago staying whole for several thousand years before fracturing 1,400 years ago. They said it didn’t fully re-freeze until 800 years ago.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2053423/The-Arctic-ice-shelf-broke-froze-new-research-suggests.html

  30. The Expulsive says:

    Urbanites can be easily fooled because they think the city is so big and don’t understand scale. Any one who has flown over northern Canada in a small plane knows otherwise…hour after hour between strips, low altitude, it grinds on. I remember how the the animals would scatter far in advance of our Lycoming powered Cessna. As to the helicopter story, I also remember how the bears would simply disappear from the verges of a strip at the approach of a helicopter, much quicker than when a plane approached…I think because it was the favoured mode of the hunters. And bears can hide in plain sight; that is how an engineer I knew was taken down by a polar bear between the barracks and mess hall at an oil camp 30 years ago in the McKenzie delta…no one saw the bear; it just came out of nowhere from behind some equipment. They figured it was scouting the mess hall for scraps
    Everyone I know from the north sees more bears then ever, especially the bush pilots

  31. ferd berple says:

    How is it that just about everyone EXCEPT climate scientists knows that temperatures 8000-4000 years ago during the Holocene Optimum were warmer than average? How did the polar bear survive?

    What caused temperatures to rise 8000 years ago? Was it the caveman driving around in SUV’s. What caused temperatures to decline 4000 years leading to the creation of the Arctic ice sheets? Were there no polar bears before them? Have polar bears only existed for 4000 years?

  32. Peter Miller says:

    Having spent some time flying around the Arctic in helicopters, I find the idea of counting polar bears from them to be totally ludicrous. Talk about looking for a needle in a haystack – the lands of the northern Arctic are many millions of square miles in size.

    So there is probably around one polar bear every 200-300 square miles – and you think you can accurately count them from a helicopter. Only a ‘climate scientist’ could subscribe to such stupidity.

    Same old story – ‘climate scientist’ needs to keep his job. Real facts and data provide inconvenient results threatening job security – so facts and data are manipulated/tortured to provide ‘climate scientist’ with job security.

  33. Smokey says:

    John F Bruno,

    After your explanation of how careful polar bear counters are, you say, “The environmental changes all the local people I spoke with around Churchill are striking; red foxes moving northward and displacing the arctic fox, much warmer temps and later sea freeze up, etc.” That’s pretty unscientific, no?

    If I may bring you back to earth for a minute, I would like to point out that we are talking about “global warming” of a fraction of a degree over a century and a half. A global rise of 0.7°C cannot cause what you describe. What you are describing is regional climate change. A region’s climate naturally changes, constantly, and more so as you travel to the higher latitudes. What you describe has nothing to do with ‘global warming’. The Antarctic is currently cooling; That has nothing to do with global cooling. It’s simply regional climate variability.

    The problem with climate alarmists is that they will point to any change, and claim that it supports their belief system. That’s not science, that is religion.

  34. BioBob says:

    Polar bears are actually just a SUBSPECIES of Brown Bears or Griz. They freely interbreed in the wild and produce fertile offspring and this has been confirmed and reported many times, in fact. You can find numerous recent examples, for example http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=2978186 and it only takes one exception to make the rule in biology.

    So you MUST include the world-wide population of griz and brown bears in the total population and recognize that the entire boreal distributed population of Ursus arctos and subspecies which at its height ranged southwards into Mexico, Italy, the Middle East, Southern China, etc and so has no problem with higher temperatures.

    Nuff said.

  35. Taphonomic says:

    Jeez, I can remember when the USGS used to perform ground truth to test models. I guess they have perfected their modeling capabilities (just like NASA) so much that this is no longer necessary

  36. ferd berple says:

    The Expulsive says:
    December 17, 2011 at 9:54 am
    And bears can hide in plain sight; that is how an engineer I knew was taken down by a polar bear between the barracks and mess hall at an oil camp 30 years ago in the McKenzie delta…no one saw the bear; it just came out of nowhere from behind some equipment.

    A scientist with an untrained eye flying in a helicopter is not going to see a bear hiding itself on the ice. Bears that do not learn to hide themselves die from starvation or predation.

    Every hunter knows that the eye learns from experience. An experienced hunter will spot game the novice will overlook. Play “where is waldo” with your kids.

  37. Steve from Rockwood says:

    ThePowerofX says:
    December 17, 2011 at 9:24 am
    “You now have polar bears coming into towns, getting into cabins”

    And then…

    “We are aware there are changes in the weather, but it is not affecting the daily life of the animals”

    Perhaps the bears wish to go shopping, or something.
    ———————————————————————————–
    If they knew how much stuff costs up there they would stick to the seals. So they’re probably shop lifting polar bears.

    But why not hire the local Inuit to count the polar bears and leave the CO2 producing helicopters on the ground?

  38. DirkH says:

    David Marshall says:
    December 17, 2011 at 9:34 am
    “Not an impressive rebuttal. “But the bears are getting into our garbage cans!” is on the same level as, “But it snowed really hard last winter!” Too impressionistic to take seriously. ”

    As for the “snowed really hard last winter”; this argument was serious enough for the IPCC “scientists” to come up with studies that showed more snow being the logical consequence of AGW; through a new phenomenon they invented, the “turbocharged weather pattern”.

  39. Taphonomic says:

    ferd berple says:
    “How is it that just about everyone EXCEPT climate scientists knows that temperatures 8000-4000 years ago during the Holocene Optimum were warmer than average?”

    They know it Fred, they just choose to ignore this inconvenient truth it might get in the way of their message and distract attention from “The Cause”. Just like they never really discuss continetal glaciations ending ~12000 years ago with concommitant 400 foot sea-level rise.

    Glaciers that covered all of Canada along with Chicago and New York just retreating and melting away…now that’s global warming and climate change.

  40. Steve from Rockwood says:

    Peter Miller says:
    December 17, 2011 at 10:02 am
    “…totally ludicrous…needle in a haystack – the lands of the northern Arctic are many millions of square miles in size.

    …one polar bear every 200-300 square miles – and you think you can accurately count them from a helicopter. Only a ‘climate scientist’ could subscribe to such stupidity.

    …facts and data are manipulated/tortured to provide…job security.”
    ————————————————————————————
    In total agreement here. Reminds me of the guy who flew 15,000 line-km a year in a plane in the Arctic counting things in the ocean and covering 0.018% of his area. Then he found a dead polar bear – it had drowned. We all know how that ended.

    I can’t get my head around how much totally useless science there is being peddled today – especially in the name of the Earth’s climate. We have too many PhD’s sitting in helicopters and not enough mechanics fixing them (the helicopters – the PhD’s aren’t fixable).

  41. George Lawson says:

    Bit embarrasing for Sir David Attenborough

  42. hstad says:

    John F Bruno says:
    December 17, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Gee, Mr. Bruno, because the people you have met and describe ….. “… are hunters, empiricists, and bad ass outdoorsmen….” we must put their credibility above everyone else? Do you think these people are not influenced by the money grants they get for their research? No they are on a holy crusade – they do it for mankind! I’m calling you out for the fiction writer you are and a priest of the church of global warming.

  43. JJ says:

    “You now have polar bears coming into towns, getting into cabins, breaking property and just creating havoc for people up here,” he says.

    Clearly, these poor bears are breaking into houses for only one reason: to get at the air conditioning. They’ll probably be kicking open fire hydrants soon.

  44. commieBob says:

    Harry Flaherty, chair of the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board in the capital of Iqaluit, says the polar bear population in the region, along the Davis Strait, has doubled during the past 10 years. He questions the official figures, which are based to a large extent on helicopter surveys.

    “Scientists do a quick study one to two weeks in a helicopter, and don’t see all the polar bears. We’re getting totally different stories [about the bear numbers] on a daily basis from hunters and harvesters on the ground,” he says.

    The statement above is probably misleading.

    In my early career (back in the 70s), I spent time in the Canadian arctic and had the chance to meet Ian Stirling (arguably the world’s leading polar bear expert) and his colleagues. Their involvement with the bears was up close and personal. The guy who made the statement above knows better than to describe Stirling’s work as a “quick study”.

    The local population wants to hunt more polar bears. The Canadian government doesn’t want them to. You could put the difference in opinion down to that.

    Listening carefully to what Stirling says, you get three things:

    Polar bears are in trouble if there is no ice at the right time of year.
    Southern (western Hudson’s Bay around Churchill) populations of polar bears are experiencing problems right now.
    A warmer climate and thinning ice will actually help more northern polar bear populations.

    Ah, yes, point three. Even if it gets warmer, the polar bears will do OK. Some populations will suffer and others will prosper. That’s according to the world’s leading polar bear expert. (The fact that he believes in AGW, well, that grieves me greatly.)

  45. ecoGuy says:

    Well, you would expect the polar bear populations to recover after they were all hurled out of an airplane to make this..

  46. Martin Brumby says:

    @John F Bruno says: December 17, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Did you ever read this?
    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/reprint/taylor_polar_bears.pdf

    But of course Mitchell Taylor has only been studying Polar Bears for thirty years. He’ll get the hang of “real” science soon!

    You might like to check out:-
    http://motls.blogspot.com/2009/10/mitchell-taylor-polar-bears-and-agw.html
    as well!

  47. Babsy says:

    Steve In S.C. says:
    December 17, 2011 at 8:48 am

    There is a full body mount polar bear taken at Kotzebue, AK, in 1968 on display at Cabela’s in Ft. Worth, TX. To stand within ten feet of it and imagine it being alive makes my skin crawl!

  48. Peter Crawford says:

    commieBob – “The local population wants to hunt more Polar Bears.The Canadian Government doesn’t want them to”, you say.

    If that is so then the first to complain about the decline in numbers would be the local hunters would it not?

  49. AnonyMoose says:
    December 17, 2011 at 8:40 am

    “January 8, 2010″ – I wonder how the locals are doing now.”

    Those that weren’t attacked by the increasing polar bear population are probably doing rather well.

    “…Last year, in Pelly Bay, all the bears that were captured were caught in town, Nirlungayuk says. “You now have polar bears coming into towns, getting into cabins, breaking property and just creating havoc for people up here,” he says…”

    Either we have polar bear gangs, or a new group called “Occupy the the North Pole”, or maybe it’s just three of them telling Goldilocks “turn about is fair play”…

  50. DJ says:

    Graph & chart of populations….and I.Q. comparison between da bears & Al Gore
    …”…Perhaps the polar bear survived the last Interglacial because it did not have computer climate models that said polar bears should not have survived!”…

    http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/Articles%202007/GW_polarbears.pdf

  51. DJ says:

    2010 Polar Bear numbers…according to…:

    http://pbsg.npolar.no/en/status/status-table.html

  52. Have any of the biologists out there considered the possibility that the bears have reached carrying capacity? Large animals need a lot of calories, animals in cold weather need more calories than in warm 2-3 times. Now in the Arctic there is distinct limitation in food resources for both the bears and the seals they feed on.

  53. Dr. Dave says:

    @Martin Brumby

    MANY thanks for that SPPI link. As I read through all these comments and especially the ones that name dropped “polar bear experts” I was racking my brain trying to remember the name of Mitchell Taylor – a REAL polar bear expert. In fact, he is so much of an expert that I believe the IPCC polar bear working group kicked him out because he refused to support their story line. Taylor has been studying polar bears LONG before it became fashionable. Everyone should read that PDF file.

  54. John F Bruno says:

    Jeez. This is a tuff crowd.

    Rhys Jaggar @853: they are not simply “the projections of computer modelers” – they are empirical data that are synthesized via equations to estimate population trends. Not magic. Not mere models. Nothing to be afraid of. And these scientists get up close and personal with these beasts all the time.

    GP Hanner @910: True. There are recently evolved from brown bears and bears as a group are adaptable, but polar bears are the most specialized bear and as marine mammals they need sea ice. Moreover, the transition took tens of thousands of years. They are not going to magically evolve into forest or tundra dwellers in a few decades.

    Gail Combs @921 and others: I have heard of some bears being afraid of copters, but I never witnessed that. In fact, they usually don’t budge when a plane, helicopter truck or massive tundra buggy comes near. But you probably know that if you really drove a tundra buggy.

    Latitude @922: jeez Latitude, that myth has been debunked for years. Is that the best you can do!

    Matthew W @935: Point of agreement – the WWF/Coke formula for protection is silly.

    The Expulsive @954: Perhaps, but this would not mean the populations are increasing since the bear live AT SEA (on sea ice) far from where bush pilots fly. If they are being seen on land, that is a bad sign. Did you read my post?

    Peter Miller @1002: These are not “climate scientist” they are wildlife biologists. They don’t need to keep their jobs – they have tenure at universities. The data are not manipulated. etc. Are you one of those nutters that thinks NASA faked the moon landings?

    Smokey @1005: Fair point regarding the anecdote – not science. But they can be informative (although misleading at times).

    BioBob @1006: The two species can successfully interbreed but they are morphologically and ecologically very different. Which is why you don’t see brown bears hunting for seals on the ice pack. Your argument is based on a very narrow definition of what a “species” is – that is far too complex a discussion to get into here.

    ferd berple @1010: Ferd, agreed. I’d never be able to spot a bear. But the scientists that work on them sure can. They are the world’s best bear hunters and trackers. They just don’t kill them when they catch them.

    hstad @1030: no, no and no.

  55. DJ says:

    WHOA NELLIE!!! ANOTHER ADJUST THE PREVIOUS DATA DEAL???????

    Looking at the charts in the 2 links I just posted, one from 2005, the latter from 2010, both from the same source…and populations from the SAME studies on one chart differ from the other chart, AND show a decline where there was none in the first report!!!

    Just 2 examples are the Barents Sea and S. Beaufort Sea populations. Is this just ME???

  56. John F Bruno says:

    Michael Bergeron @ 11:27 am

    Good question. Don’t know the answer. I wouldn’t be surprised if the northern populations, some of which appear to be stable, are.

    For the declining populations, their carrying capacity (K) is likely declining as their access to prey (hunting habitat) declines. Note this isn’t because the prey populations are declining, but instead because the platform from which they hunt is.

  57. Attenborough (The Man himself) plays with polar bears…… geesh so many people were suckered in during the Frozen Planet series……. you don’t sit next to a polar bear for a photo opportunity!!!! http://www.zoenature.org/2011/12/amazing-polar-bear-scene-staged/

  58. 3x2 says:

    George Lawson says:
    December 17, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Bit embarrasing for Sir David Attenborough

    Shame really, until I realised what a poisonous little man he really is underneath the scientific vernier, I actually enjoyed a lot of his work. I find that watching it with the sound off is the only way to go these days. I did try to watch his latest piece … but no, sound off as soon as he opened his “Club of Rome” mouth. Sound off – enjoy the photography. Proof, if any were needed, that age doesn’t improve a corked wine.

  59. King of Cool says:

    Rather than counting hungry polar bears from helicopters wouldn’t it be easier to count the number of humans being eaten by bears.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1102347/Chilling-game-hide-seek-hungry-polar-bear.html

    In past 30 years USA – 1 Canada – 8. Russia – 19. ?

    Very simple, very cheap and hardly any ongoing research funds required. If the above figures can be ratified by the IPCC looks like the Russian bear populations have no problems but there seems to some trouble in Alaska – too many guns?

  60. Gail Combs says:

    ThePowerofX says:
    December 17, 2011 at 9:24 am

    “You now have polar bears coming into towns, getting into cabins”

    And then…

    “We are aware there are changes in the weather, but it is not affecting the daily life of the animals”

    Perhaps the bears wish to go shopping, or something.
    ___________________________________

    Two causes:
    1. Polar bears have increased to the point where they are out pacing their food supply.

    2. Humans are not hunting them so they are no longer wary of humans.

    And lastly once a bear figures out it is easier to eat at the dump then go hunting they are going to train their youngsters to dump dip instead of hunt. This is asking for a major problem down the road.

    If Coyotes are not hunted they get bold enough to snatch your child from under your nose. This story is about a friend of my brother-in-law. He reported it in the family newspaper. It is reprinted here:

    There are some things in life that not even 17 years as a prison guard and police officer can prepare you for. Wilmington Police Officer and former Concord prison guard Louis Martignetti found that out the hard way Saturday when a coyote attacked his daughter and then him while his family did yard-work at their home off Burlington Avenue. Martignetti, his wife, 7-year-old son, Gino, and 4-year-old daughter, Tia, were outside when the animal ran up and bit his daughter in the leg about 10 a.m. Martignetti, who was in his shed at the time, heard his wife’s screams, but at first did not know what was going on.

    “She started screaming something like, ‘Pick up the baby, pick up the baby,’ but it happened so quick I didn’t understand what she wanted me to do,” he said.

    That’s when he turned and saw a coyote lunge at his daughter, who only weighs about 28 pounds, and bite her in the leg….. http://www.varmintal.com/attac.htm

    Even a deer can do major damage to a human. …Donald Dube, 55, died of multiple internal injuries, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt. Marc Violette said Wednesday. The victim had been trampled by an eight-point buck and stabbed with its antlers….

    I really do not like the attitude toward wildlife I have seen developing over the last forty years. The “Bambi syndrome” can lead to severe injury of a human and the death of the animal, a real lose-lose situation that is being promoted by WWF and Green Peace painting animals as cute and cuddly.

    Toronto singer, Taylor Mitchell, a 19-year-old, was attacked and killed. One of these days it will be a very well known person or their child who is mauled/killed and public opinion will turn.
    http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/717207–toronto-singer-killed-by-coyotes?bn=1

  61. chinook says:

    This Fall the live tundra buggy and lodge base webcams in Churchill showed plenty of bears and temps cold enough to form sea ice at an earlier date than previous years. The ‘bears are going extinct, along with the melted Arctic disappearing’ theme seemed to be a primary position of many of the hosts and visitors. The positive trends in the AO and NAO and extreme cold, along with so many bears seemed to counter dire opinions. The webcams didn’t broadcast for as many days as had been stated-several days less. The sea ice formed and kept forming and so bears left Churchill and headed out onto Hudson Bay. All the bears and cubs I saw looked to be in good shape and very active. My observations from my comfortable office chair aren’t exactly scientific proof of anything, but at this point the Arctic doesn’t appear to have a fever and I wouldn’t want to be lost wandering around up there.
    http://explore.org/

  62. Latitude says:

    John F Bruno says:
    December 17, 2011 at 11:46 am
    Latitude @922: jeez Latitude, that myth has been debunked for years. Is that the best you can do!
    =======================================================
    You dimwit, I quoted the article

  63. Don says:

    John F Bruno, thanks for your original post, which I found to be generous, civil, respectful, informative, and challenging in a good way. And thanks for hanging with the “tough crowd” (a fair observation in this instance, I think) rather than just taking your toys and going home. Regrettably, some of my fellow skeptics (not unlike their extremist opponents) leap to the conclusion that any science that might seem to support the “other side” is automatically tainted, and its messengers disingenuous and therefore fair targets. In this I think they do a disservice to the spirit of our esteemed host, as well as to real science. I come here to learn, and your posts, along with the more respectful and informed responses to them, have furthered my goal. Thanks again.

  64. Gail Combs says:

    John F Bruno says:
    December 17, 2011 at 9:46 am

    You are another data point in a hypothesis of mine….

  65. John F Bruno says:

    Latitude, that is my point exactly. This early population “estimate” was at best a WAG (Wild Ass Guess) not based on data. We now know it to be false. Just like we know the earth wasn’t created in 7 days. Get with the program!

  66. James Sexton says:

    John F Bruno says:
    December 17, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Jeez. This is a tuff crowd.
    ======================================
    It usually is……….. Before we start going on about how these bear counters are real scientists and not like climatologists, I would remind the readers of the floating dead bears study…….. done by……. animal counters. There are a couple of good articles archived here…… it gives us some pretty good insight towards their methods and scientific rigor.

  67. Latitude says:

    John F Bruno says:
    December 17, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Latitude, that is my point exactly.
    ==============================
    You made you’re point….either you can’t read and comprehend….or you didn’t even read the article you were replying to…….

    …Otherwise, you wouldn’t have addressed that to me…you would have addressed it to the article.

    You chose to look like a pompous dimwit…………………..

  68. DesertYote says:

    John F Bruno
    December 17, 2011 at 9:46 am
    ###

    You are not the only one with a background in ecology who comments on this blog. Though I have focused primarily on freshwater desert ecosystems, I have a strong interest in carnivores. My knowledge has been gained by self study, field research ( one does not need a PhD in order to do meaningful research!), and experimentation. I tried to get a degree, but the insistent Marxist indoctrination that permeates those fields drove me away. I have Aspergers Syndrome (yes diagnosed) and I can’t keep my mouth shut. As far as I can tell, most wildlife biologists are lefties. The higher up they are the more left leaning they are. You talk of Inuit having an agenda, but it seems that the biologists also have an agenda. They can’t help it, they see everything through a Marxist world view, so all of their science is through a Marxist world view.

    But I have noticed this tendency is not universal. Because of my interest, I read a lot of papers and publications. I have always been surprised by the quality of science done by the bear specialists. The IUCN Bear Specialist Group in particular has impressed me, enough so, that I almost decided to try to go back to school and get a degree. On the other hand, the Polar Bear Specialist Group seems to exist primarily to provide ammunition to Marxists in their war against freedom.

    The problem of Polar Bears invading towns is not new. I first read about it 20 years ago. The problem is not that the bears are starving, but that the towns provide an easy meal. The towns started to manage their trash better, so the bears stopped being so disruptive by hanging around town all year long. Now we hear stories of the decline in the South Hudson Bay population. It has little to do with global warming, but with the bears moving on because they can no longer rely on a free handout.

  69. PaulH says:

    I dare say those environmentalists bent over computer models and comfortably ensconced in air-conditioned southern high-rises would also have difficulty finding Greenland and Manitoba on a map. ;->

  70. Gail Combs says:

    John F Bruno says:
    December 17, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Jeez. This is a tuff crowd.

    Rhys Jaggar @853: they are not simply “the projections of computer modelers” – they are empirical data that are synthesized via equations to estimate population trends. Not magic. Not mere models. Nothing to be afraid of. And these scientists get up close and personal with these beasts all the time…..
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    It is a computer model and subject to the same

    Garbage In = Garbage Out

    I did not have to read more than the first paragraph from Dr. Taylor to spot one of the Garbage Ins of your “Not a Computer Model”

    ABSTRACT
    …..The mean generation time of polar bears as defined by the IUCN/SSC Redbook criteria and the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) is 12 not 15 years. The time-frame for three generations for polar bears is 36 not 45 years as indicated by the IUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialists Group. Based on the assumption of a linear relationship of population numbers to sea ice habitat, extrapolation of IPCC GCM sea ice predictions over a thirty-six year interval does not support the contention that polar bears are threatened with extinction over the next three generations. Extrapolation of IPCC GCM sea ice predictions over a hundred year interval does not support the contention that polar bears are threatened with extinction in the foreseeable future. Population viability analyses (PVA), using demographic estimates from polar bear populations where the data are sufficient, indicate that population status is affected by both anthropogenic removals and vital rates. PVAs that employ current demographic and removal rates indicate that most polar bear populations could sustain the current removal rate indefinitely.…..
    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/reprint/taylor_polar_bears.pdf

    So change the years for one generation from 12 to 15 and you completely change the conclusions from your “Not Computer Model” it would seem.

  71. Kohl says:

    Yes John F Bruno, I think they are a very tough crowd!

    I’m getting just a wee whiff of the same sort of hubris that you can get from those who overplay the global warming thing.

    I don’t believe that the scientists are silly dupes (well not all of them, there are exceptions). I can go with the idea that bear numbers may be in decline partly because of environmental factors.

    However, firstly, that says nothing at all about the causes of the environmental factors (i.e. it is not an argument for (nor against) AGW); secondly, it is clear that other ( i.e. non environmental, albeit human) factors are very important in affecting bear populations.

    Getting ‘hot’ and bothered about ‘changing the climate’ is just fatuous. Might as well try to stop the clouds flying across the sky. But the other thing – deaths caused by human actions, well that seems to be a very sensible subject for intense study..

  72. Don says:

    Gail Combs says:
    December 17, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    You are another data point in a hypothesis of mine….

    Gail, you tease, care to elaborate? I generally find your hypotheses worth considering.

  73. John F Bruno says:

    Thanks Don 1247: a reminder for me to keep it civil.

    pmchinook @1227: I spent a week on the Tundra and stayed at the Tundra Lodge Nov 14-17. Yes, there were a lot of bears around as you can see in my pictures posted here: https://picasaweb.google.com/110312667684005848760/ChurchillPolarBears. They concentrate along the shore in the fall, waiting for the ocean to freeze. Once it does, they are gone.

    “and temps cold enough to form sea ice at an earlier date than previous years” This is simply not true. When I arrived, the temps were barely below freezing and there was little ice on the sea, as you can see in the picture I took off Churchill in mid Nov (I think Nov 16): http://theseamonster.net/wp-content/uploads/ocean.jpg

    By the time I left, temps had dropped and there were signs of some coastal freezing, but the ice didn’t firm up for several more weeks. Eg. look at my post here and see how little sea ice there was on Nov 20: http://theseamonster.net/2011/11/still-no-ice-on-hudson-bay/

    Also see: http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/programs/scientists-and-explorers/wheres-ice

    “The sea ice formed and kept forming and so bears left Churchill and headed out onto Hudson Bay” yes, in early/mid-Dec they did.

    http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/programs/scientists-and-explorers/late-return-sea-ice

    As Dr. Andrew Derocher states (see quote in link above): “Although it’s good news that the bears are finally hunting, we need to keep in mind that this was a very late freeze-up. In the 1980s, freeze-up typically arrived by the end of the first week of November. Two decades later, that had moved to about November 20th. For the past three years, it has been December. These longer and longer ice free periods are straining this population’s ability to survive.”

  74. Smokey says:

    John Bruno,

    Martin Brumby’s link above shows there is no verifiable connection between sea ice and bear numbers. That is only a baseless assumption:

    Suggesting that polar bear numbers are directly proportional to the amount of available (> 50% ice coverage) ice is only an assumption, not a scientific result (Dyck et al. 2007)… The assumption of a linear relationship of polar bear numbers to > 50% sea ice can be examined by considering the numerical response of recently surveyed populations to reductions in sea ice. Based on recent population surveys in the SB (decline), NB (stationary), WH (decline), SH (stationary), and DS (increase); the relationship between ice and population numbers appears to be more complex. Why has the number of polar bears in some populations remained constant or increased when sea ice there has declined? One explanation is that polar bears have a life history strategy that is adapted to fluctuations in environmental conditions, so that demographic effects of sea ice fluctuations have been mitigated or delayed. Polar bears exhibit a high degree of behavioral plasticity (Stirling and Derocher 1990) which assists them in adjusting to changing conditions. …

  75. James Sexton says:

    In the 1980s, freeze-up typically arrived by the end of the first week of November…….
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I guess that was inevitable…… Can anyone make the case that that time period wasn’t marked by exceptional and excessive ice and early freezing? I don’t think it is proper to make comparisons to outlier periods.

  76. nc says:

    Just listened to a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC, program called Quirks and Quarks, a science program. Usually good until they get into climate change then it goes to hell in a hand basket. CBC is Canada’s version of Australia’s ABC and the UK’s BBC, with the same warmists alarmism.
    Anyhow they just had a Dr. Stirling on from the University of Alberta on with the rant the bears are in jeopardy. He mentioned studying the bears over 40 years and conveniently left out the part of the bears population increase during that time which he must have seen. He basically mentions why more bears are seen around communities is that they are starving. He also never mentioned previous warming periods. I could go on what he had to say but you get the gist. I suppose having been around for 40 years close to retirement and will milk the grants till then.

  77. Joe Prins says:

    Reminds me of one of my favourate egghead stories. Seems the regular annual prof trek to the north arrived for the local guides to make money off. Since some of the regular “joe’s” were away hunting polar bears, these scientist were driven around in the tundra buggy. The driver needed to be home earlier than planned and proceeded to drive around so that these folks could count the same bears over and over again. This became a regular occurance between snowstorms.
    Mr. Bruno might be interested to quote the wiki:
    “The chairman of the Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG), Dr Andy Derocher explained that his rejection had nothing to do with his undoubted expertise on polar bears: “it was the position you’ve taken on global warming that brought opposition”. Dr Taylor was told that his views running “counter to human-induced climate change are extremely unhelpful”. His signing of the Manhattan Declaration was “inconsistent with the position taken by the PBSG”.[3]

  78. John F Bruno says:

    nc @144: polar bear populations are not increasing. why do you (and others) insist they are? aren’t skeptics supposed to be bound by facts?

  79. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    As long as hunting permits for polar bears are being sold, I won’t be a bit worried.

    http://www.polarbearhunting.net/

  80. Bob Fernley-Jones says:

    GP Hanner @ December 17, 9:01 am

    Polar bears are the only true carnivores among the ursines. Seals are their livlihood and meat is what they eat.

    But, but, but, I remember seeing a BBC TV doco where polar bears seemed to be doing very nicely as omnivores, although they obviously enjoy summer meat, such as at bird colonies, and the males enjoy the odd bear cub if they can. It was shown that they eat large quantities of berries on low shrubs, and even sea-kelp whilst alongside a whale carcase that had attracted many sociable bears. They all looked nice and plump to me, and big males were obviously content with life and were even having play-fights. Tell me, if they are all near starvation by the end of the warm weather, how come they have sufficient body-fat and energy to survive? And why do the females hunker-down in a den? Do you think that catching seals is easy, and what are the alternatives in winter?
    Oh BTW it was an Attenborough doco.

  81. Sparks says:

    Polar bears Die of pneumonia and exposure to freezing temperatures too, just like any other warm blooded animal, They can survive arctic conditions and their survival is NOT dependent on freezing arctic temperatures, as suggested by ignorant environmental groups.

    Example;
    Sydney Too Cold For Polar Bear SYDNEY, July 6 1950.
    “A polar bear died today at the Taronga Park Zoo from pleurisy and pneumonia. ” … “Zoo officials said that the deaths had been caused by Sydney’s cold and wet weather.”
    http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/47873262

    Anyone genuinely worried about polar bears adaptability to earths climate changes should read this article from the MECHANICS’ INSTITUTE. ON GEOLOGY. 9 September 1846:
    The whole article is interesting and needs to be read for better context of the excerpt below, Maybe reading about our planet and learning from studies done in the past is above Man Made global warming enthusiasts.

    “…The earth would consequently be as hot at the poles during the ‘summer months, as it now is at the equator; and would be as cold at the equator during the winter months, as it now is at the poles. That such must have been the order of things at some past period of our world’s history, has been proven by astronomical observation, and still further confirmed by geological discovery. The fossil remains of animals which can only exist in hot countries have been found in the coldest regions, and those of animals which can exist only in the coldst climates have been found in tropical regions. Skeletons of tile great polar bear, rein deer, etc.. have recently been dug up in countries between the tropics; and skeletons of elephants and buffaloes, have been found in the northern parts of Siberia and North America.”
    http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article36246279

  82. John F Bruno says:

    CRS @ 1:59 pm: logic if your statement unclear.

  83. John F Bruno says:

    Sparks @ 204: Polar bears are in fact incredibly well adapted to extreme cold and are indeed sensitive to warm temps. You often see the big males splayed out on the ice trying keep their private parts cool:)

    That said, it isn’t warming per se that is a threat – it is the reduced temporal sea ice cover that is resulting from it that is causing problems. Yes, Bob Fernley-Jones, they eat algae and other stuff, but they can’t live without feasting on fat seals for most the year. Which is why they are called “lipovores”.

  84. Harold Ambler says:

    The first of a series of excerpts from my new book is available here: http://bit.ly/sfgFOa The book deals with, among many other things, the growth of polar bear populations since the 1960s.

    Those so inclined will find a link to Amazon as well.

  85. Rhoda Ramirez says:

    I live in Fl where it is ‘relatively’ warm year around and where there is food available to bears year around. Brown bears. We also have a proble with bears getting into the restaurant trash bins. It’s not about ice or starvation so much as opportunity. Bears are opportunits. Just getting into trash bins is not a convincing indicator of bear starvation.

  86. nofreewind says:

    John F Bruno says:
    December 17, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Gee, Mr. Bruno, because the people you have met and describe ….. “… are hunters, empiricists, and bad ass outdoorsmen….”
    —————————————-
    And these scientists would not even have a chance of counting bears unless it was known their numbers were going to be “right”.

  87. commieBob says:

    Peter Crawford says:
    December 17, 2011 at 11:16 am

    commieBob – “The local population wants to hunt more Polar Bears.The Canadian Government doesn’t want them to”, you say.

    If that is so then the first to complain about the decline in numbers would be the local hunters would it not?

    The arctic is big. There are many populations of polar bears and some of them are prospering. Some of them are in real trouble right now but others could be harvested at a greater rate.

    Each community is allocated a number of bears. They make money by selling the right to hunt the bears to rich hunters from the south. It costs $15 k – $20 k to hunt a bear. What the local hunters tell you will be colored by that fact. They can make pretty good money as guides. The other thing is that some of them, depending on where they are, will have seen healthy bear populations.

    Logic has little to do with whether hunters and fishers will opt for conservation. On the one hand: Ducks Unlimited, on the other hand: the Spanish fishing fleet.

    John F Bruno: re. bears’ fear of helicopters. In my experience, bears can be driven off by something loud. My life may have been saved by a ‘copter pilot who drove a bear away from my trail. The noise of gunshots will drive a bear away, unless it has got into your rubbish dump, in which case it may be necessary to crease it’s rear end.

    Gail Combs: re. bears’ fear of humans. Polar bears have no natural fear of people. We are just some kind of interesting lunch to them. An older bear may have had some kind of fear-inducing experience with people but juveniles probably haven’t. They will hunt you, they are smart and they can be nearly invisible.

    many posters: re. bears ‘visiting’ human settlements. The meaning of that has two possible meanings:
    1 – There is a healthy bear population or even too many bears.
    2 – The population is under stress and comes in to town because they are starving.

    You can have both things happening at the same time. In Churchill, Ian Stirling reports that they have had desperate emaciated bears in recent years. In other places, there are indeed healthy or even surplus populations.

  88. Peter Miller says:

    John F Bruno

    “Peter Miller @1002: These are not “climate scientist” they are wildlife biologists. They don’t need to keep their jobs – they have tenure at universities. The data are not manipulated. etc. Are you one of those nutters that thinks NASA faked the moon landings?”

    “They have tenure at universities” – that is a scary response, meaning they have no responsibilities other than to spout what is fashionable in order to keep tenure – CAGW is fashionable, as epitomised by its supposed threat to polar bears.

    The data is manipulated, and/or collected in a totally incompetent fashion (e.g. counting polar bears for a couple of weeks from helicopters) and would not stand serious independent scrutiny.

    I am a real scientist and loathe bad science as purveyed by the CAGW cult and the quip about NASA faking the moon landings is beneath contempt, worthy only of someone trying to argue black is white.

  89. Vince Causey says:

    John F Bruno,

    You said: “hey are not simply “the projections of computer modelers” – they are empirical data that are synthesized via equations”

    It is interesting that you think empirical data is that which is synthesized via equations. ’nuff said.

  90. John F Bruno says:

    Peter Miller @ 238: I won’t defend the academic tenure system. I have tenure, but I’d be happy to live without it. But the fact is, these scientists are not motivated by fear of loosing their jobs as you argued. They do have a big responsibility: to facts and the truth. To explore the natural world and determine through empiricism and skepticisms what is true and what isn’t. Why do you object to that?

    “The data is manipulated” This is a serious accusation. Do you have any evidence to support it? Or is it based merely on your political ideology?

    Your’e a scientist? Then start acting like one and offer up some evidence in support of your hypothesis Peter. Ill be waiting, to give it some “serious independent scrutiny”.

  91. squareheaded says:

    John F Bruno says:
    December 17, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Just like we know the earth wasn’t created in 7 days. Get with the program!

    Like you used to know it was created in 7 days? What “program” were you on? What “program” are you now on?

  92. John F Bruno says:

    commieBob, thanks for the nice insights and comments

  93. John F Bruno says:

    Vince Causey @248: Sorry to be pedantic, but I didn’t say that, as your repost of my quote demonstrates.

  94. Sparks says:

    John F Bruno says:
    December 17, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    “Polar bears are in fact incredibly well adapted to extreme cold”
    They can still die of pneumonia and exposure to freezing temperatures.

    “5 February 1904, In Chicago a Polar Bear freezes to death in the zoo after three nights of -15 degrees F.”

    John F Bruno says:
    “and are indeed sensitive to warm temps. You often see the big males splayed out on the ice trying keep their private parts cool”.

    Why wouldn’t they be acclimatised to their polar environment? they can also be acclimatised to much warmer environments which has been proven time and time again all over the planet, therefor saying polar bears are “sensitive to warm temps” is ambiguous nonsense.

    John F Bruno says:
    “That said, it isn’t warming per se that is a threat – it is the reduced temporal sea ice cover that is resulting from it that is causing problems.”

    Imaginary problems? Well here’s my nonfictional solution, it’s a quite simple idea but very effective, Stop making up Imaginary problems. there you go problem’ er I mean non-problem solved! :)

    (“temporal sea ice cover” My A$$)

  95. John F Bruno says:

    I’m on the empirical science program squareheaded.

  96. Smokey says:

    John Bruno says:

    ” I have tenure…”

    So then I guess you don’t have to learn correct grammar and spelling?☺

    As far as data being manipulated, I offer the following evidence showing that manipulation of the temperature record is done all the time:

    “Here, the expected 1990 – 2003 period is missing so the correlations aren’t so hot! Yet the WMO codes and station names /locations are identical (or close). What the hell is supposed to happen here? Oh, yeah – there is no ‘supposed’, I can make it up. So I have.”
    ~From the Harry_Read_Me file, Climategate 1.0.

    There you have an admission that many years of temperature data were fabricated out of whole cloth. And NASA/GISS, USHCN, NOAA and other government agencies constantly manipulate the temperature record to show either higher current temperatures, or lower past temperatures, in order to show a more alarming rise. More. And more. And more. Still more. Need more? Here’s more. Hey, look, here’s more. Need more?

    See anything common to all these ‘revisions’? Yes, they all result in a more alarming looking chart. That’s not science, that is propaganda.

    There’s your evidence. I’ve got plenty more of the same if you’re interested. The fact is that huge government grants, and the subsidizing of alarmist propaganda by government agencies is endemic to the system. They are all on the same page, with a wink and a nod to each other, trying to show unusual warming when it doesn’t exist. All the arm-waving over a few tenths of a degree is being done to enrich a few academics and government employees at the expense of everyone else. But the plain fact is that the current minor fluctuations are well within historical parameters, and there is no measurable, quantifiable human “fingerprint” of AGW. None at all. Now you can apologize to Peter Miller.

  97. John F Bruno says:

    Sparks @322: “Why wouldn’t they be acclimatised to their polar environment?’

    They are (obviously). This behavior is likely adaptative and helps them to thermoregulate. They have a thick coat and blubber to keep warm and they rub their balls on the ice to cool off. You should try it sometime.

  98. Steve from Rockwood says:

    Gail Combs says:
    December 17, 2011 at 12:26 pm
    —————————————————–
    Gail, I think these examples are extreme exceptions. I live in the country and we have a group of coyotes on our property (maybe as many as 10). I see 1 or 2 every so often (rarely) and one may have sneaked up to the house and grabbed our little dog (4.5 lbs – could have been an owl). But in general they are very shy. I hear them yipping and howling at night but rarely see them. They’re very good at taking down deer though.

    As for polar bears, it would help if scientists first quantified the effects of hunting, then loss of habitat, and then perhaps global warming. To conclude bear populations are in danger due to ice loss without addressing hunting and habitat loss just isn’t science.

    Same for coyotes. When in their natural habitat you never see them. Just don’t own a small dog in the country or live near a ravine in the city.

  99. Gail Combs says:

    John F Bruno says:
    December 17, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Thanks Don 1247: a reminder for me to keep it civil.

    pmchinook @1227: I spent a week on the Tundra and stayed at the Tundra Lodge Nov 14-17. Yes, there were a lot of bears around as you can see in my pictures posted here: https://picasaweb.google.com/110312667684005848760/ChurchillPolarBears. They concentrate along the shore in the fall, waiting for the ocean to freeze. Once it does, they are gone….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    OK a quick search shows Polar Bears do not hibernate like other bears. You are saying the ice does not arrive until November. So riddle me this ~ What the heck are the bears doing/eating during the summer months????

    Also this chart (GISS for Average Arctic 80N-90N temps during melt season) shows the summer temps peaked in the mid nineties and have dropped since. From 1998 they have been BELOW “normal” (chart stops at 2008)
    http://hidethedecline.eu/media/ArcticGISS/DMIis2010.jpg

    Polar Bear Diet:

    …During spring and summer, polar bears in some areas increased predation on migratory harp seals and beluga whales. In Western Hudson Bay, bearded seal consumption declined between 1995 and 2001 for both male and female bears and continued to decline among females up to the most recent sampling (2004). Ringed seal consumption in Western Hudson Bay increased between 1998 and 2001, perhaps in response to increased ringed seal productivity, but was not significantly affected by date of sea-ice breakup. Overall, our data indicate that polar bears are capable of opportunistically altering their foraging to take advantage of locally abundant prey….

    Read More: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/07-1050.1

    Given the ups and downs in temperature shown in the Greenland Ice cores, I think the Polar Bears can weather climate change a heck of a lot better than us fur-less humans can survive “global cooling”
    Greenland Ice Core temps:
    10,000years
    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/easterbrook_fig5.jpg
    15,000years
    http://c3headlines.typepad.com/.a/6a010536b58035970c0120a719dbb4970b-pi
    2000 years from 18 non-tree ring proxies
    http://www.plusaf.com/pix/2000-years-of-global-temperatures.jpg

  100. John F Bruno says:

    Smokey @329: Have you read the thread? We are discussing polar bears. Do you have evidence that their population trend estimates are manipulated as Peter Miller asserts?

    There isn’t need for an apology as this is just a friendly conversation about data. Nothing personal. As a scientist, Peter is certainly use to being asked for data to support his hypotheses. I doubt his feelings are hurt.

  101. Robert in Calgary says:

    Mr. Bruno, please make up your mind.

    “polar bear populations are not increasing. why do you (and others) insist they are? aren’t skeptics supposed to be bound by facts?”
    ——–

    You say the numbers from the 50’s and 60’s have been “debunked”, but the numbers we get now, they are declining and we should just trust you folks on that?

    The 2005 and 2009 Polar Bear reports both have this sentence.

    “The total number of polar bears worldwide is estimated to be 20,000 – 25,000″

    Seriously Mr. Bruno, how have Polar Bears survived the last 110,000 thousand years?

    In your view Mr. Bruno, is there a crisis or not?

    From December 12th —
    http://news.discovery.com/earth/polar-bear-doomed-2012-111212.html

    ———–
    A map from the Norwegian Polar Institute.
    http://www.npolar.no/npcms/export/sites/np/images/dyreliv/isbjornutbredelse.gif

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/story/2009/07/06/pbear-taylor-meeting.html

    “A polar bear biologist formerly from Nunavut was barred from an international scientific meeting because his beliefs on climate change and its effects on the species are inconsistent with the group’s opinion. (snip) “I do believe, as do many [Polar Bear Specialist Group] members, that for the sake of polar bear conservation, views that run counter to human-induced climate change are extremely unhelpful,” Derocher, a polar bear researcher at the University of Alberta, wrote in his email to Taylor.”

    http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/190805/20110802/polar-bear-global-warming-extinction-climate-change-research-world-wide-fund-wwf-geological-survey-s.htm

    “Scottish scientist Dr. Chad Dick, of the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromso, after researching the log books of Arctic explorers spanning the past 300 years, believes the outer edge of sea ice may expand and contract over regular periods of 60 to 80 years. According to his research findings, he concluded, “the recent worrying changes in Arctic sea ice are simply the result of standard cyclical movements, and not a harbinger of major climate change.””

  102. Joe Prins says:

    Fascinating that Bruno did not have a comment on my Dr.Derocher of 1:55pm. Ignore facts?
    A scientist with tenure who cannot spell and who thinks tenure is a badge of honor. Seems to me it is a state of keeping your nose clean for x amount of years, and then put in your time.
    However, sir, I do commend you for your civilized responses. At least you refrain from name calling and other assorted denigration of other commenter’s speaks highly of you.
    Perhaps a higher education is a worthwhile endeavor.

  103. Gail Combs says:

    Peter Crawford says:
    December 17, 2011 at 11:16 am

    commieBob – “The local population wants to hunt more Polar Bears.The Canadian Government doesn’t want them to”, you say.

    If that is so then the first to complain about the decline in numbers would be the local hunters would it not?
    ______________________________
    YES! The first conservationists were hunters. You can be sure if the number of bears were declining the natives would be the first to scream because it would be whites who would have their hunting licenses revoked and NOT the natives.

  104. DesertYote says:

    Gail Combs
    December 17, 2011 at 12:26 pm
    ###

    On your point #2: Polar Bears have never been wary of humans.

  105. Caleb says:

    Bruno,

    I’ve been watching the sea ice on the “Sea-Ice-Page” (see sidebar) for months, and you are correct. Hudson’s Bay has been slow to freeze. However the Bearing Straights have been quick. There’s less snow in Canada, but in Asia much more than usual. Unfortunately the 2011-2007 comparison-map isn’t currently functioning, but it is interesting to compare when it is. It seems to show a cold PDO and Warm AMO.
    http://home.comcast.net/~ewerme/wuwt/cryo_compare.jpg

  106. Peter Miller says:

    John F Bruno

    “They do have a big responsibility: to facts and the truth. To explore the natural world and determine through empiricism and skepticisms what is true and what isn’t. Why do you object to that?”

    Exactly, why should anyone object to that? This is the guts of the problem, the pseudo-science of ‘climate science’ has been built up by a group of individuals who have a total conflict of interest. They have to produce scary interpretations/distortions of the facts or their funding/comfortable lifestyles will cease, whether it be Mann, CRU or GISS, they are all tainted by the need to manipulate/torture the data in order to produce the interpretation which ensures their future funding.

    As for polar bears, so much nonsense has now been talked about these animals by the CAGW cult, that every climate-related commentary on them now has to be treated with deep scepticism and suspicion.

    The number of polar bears has probably hovered between and 10,000 and 40,000 over the past 10,000 years – that’s obviously not a scientific estimate. Their numbers constantly increase and decrease for a variety of reasons, but now it has become fashionable/trendy to say they are declining because man has increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In fact, this BS has now become an essential comment in every debate/documentary/paper on these animals.

    Finally, i) why has the subject of natural climate cycles become such a heresy among the CAGW cult? ii) Why won’t the leaders of the CAGW cult ever enter into public debate with sceptics? iii) Why do the high priests of the AGW cult routinely refuse to publicly provide their raw data and methods of interpretation?

    My contention is that any research on ‘polar bears and climate change’ needs to be independently peer reviewed, not pal reviewed. That way the amount of unfounded emotional nonsense written on the subject would be dramatically reduced.

  107. Sparks says:

    John F Bruno says:

    “They are (obviously). This behavior is likely adaptative and helps them to thermoregulate. They have a thick coat and blubber to keep warm and they rub their balls on the ice to cool off. You should try it sometime.”

    Hilarious lol , If I was a polar bear basking in the hot rays of the sun during summertime in the arctic surrounded by millions of square kilometers of sea Ice I could do that, maybe I could then have a dip in the arctic ocean to warm up again, because we all know that’s where all the missing heat is ;)

  108. clipe says:

    “But the fact is, these scientists are not motivated by fear of loosing their jobs as you argued.”

    I can’t read further than “loosing”. Don’t try and tell me it’s a typo.

  109. Bob Fernley-Jones says:

    John F Bruno @ December 17, 2:15 pm

    Yes, Bob Fernley-Jones, [polar bears] they eat algae and other stuff, but they can’t live without feasting on fat seals for most the year. Which is why they are called “lipovores”.

    Run that by me again; “they feast on fat seals for most of the year”. So why are they alleged to be in need of the harsh winter conditions?
    According to Wikipedia, which I guess you will treat with profound authority, females are normally around half the weight of males, but when pregnant they double their weight before their long fast in the den. How come that they can gorge themselves when others are near-to-death whilst waiting for the sea-ice to bulk-up?
    QUOTE: After mating, the fertilized egg remains in a suspended state until August or September. During these four months, the pregnant female eats prodigious amounts of food, gaining at least 200 kg (440 lb) and often more than doubling her body weight.[72]

  110. John F Bruno says:

    Joe Prins @357: “Perhaps a higher education is a worthwhile endeavor.”

    I wouldn’t go that far Joe:) (People like me go to grad school for ecology simply because we like animals and camping)

    And I certainly don’t think a PhD or tenure are a badge of honor. I am only saying that most (not all) of the scientists Ive known are serious, honorable and very skeptical people. Not the ideological greedy scoundrels they tend to be portrayed as on WUWT.

  111. Smokey says:

    John Bruno says:

    “Have you read the thread? We are discussing polar bears. Do you have evidence that their population trend estimates are manipulated as Peter Miller asserts?”

    Yes, and I posted a response @1:36 pm above. Later, you state:

    “‘The data is manipulated’ This is a serious accusation. Do you have any evidence to support it?”

    You were not discusing polar bears per se there. You were asking if there is evidence that data is manipulated. I provided quite a few examples of government/academic data manipulation. Why don’t you respond to that? Explain why the data is manipulated so that it always shows more alarming results than the raw data supports?

    Why do you insist on accepting the false narrative that polar bears require a large ice extent to survive? As the peer reviewed paper in my link above states: “Suggesting that polar bear numbers are directly proportional to the amount of available (> 50% ice coverage) ice is only an assumption, not a scientific result…”. It is a scientifically baseless assumption, with no empirical evidence supporting it. Furthermore, the evidence presented in the paper falsifies the conjecture that Arctic ice is necessary for polar bears’ survival.

    Polar bears have become an emotional propaganda symbol of the climate alarmist cult. But like everything else they claim, the facts contradict their narrative.

  112. squareheaded says:

    Dr. Bruno,

    I don’t have time to read and sort out all these posts. You seem to be a valid polar bear advocate. I like polar bears too, perhaps no less than you; they are part of God’s awesome creation. My question to you is, do you think I should stop driving my SUV in order to restrain the melt of arctic ice, and thus help out the polar bears, even if only in a small way?

    Please remember that I’m pretty fond of my SUV with it’s heated seats, and it would be sorely missed this winter and next, if there is one.

    Thanks.

  113. Gail Combs says:

    Steve from Rockwood says:
    December 17, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Gail Combs says:
    December 17, 2011 at 12:26 pm
    —————————————————–
    Gail, I think these examples are extreme exceptions…..

    As for polar bears, it would help if scientists first quantified the effects of hunting, then loss of habitat, and then perhaps global warming. To conclude bear populations are in danger due to ice loss without addressing hunting and habitat loss just isn’t science.

    Same for coyotes. When in their natural habitat you never see them. Just don’t own a small dog in the country or live near a ravine in the city.
    ____________________________
    I will agree that Hunting is probably the biggest factor and then carrying capacity of the eco-system. That goes for Polar Bears and Coyotes. Both the polar bears and coyotes are successful and I do not see “Climate Change” being a factor in their continued existence.

    I mentioned the coyote situation because it is a good example of the human/predator “Clash” and one those of us living in more temperate climates may run into.

    The coyote problem is getting worse because the numbers are growing. In California “Forty-eight such attacks on children and adults were verified from 1998 through 2003….Following the lethal attack on a 3-year-old girl in Glendale in August 1981, authorities removed 55 coyotes from within one-half mile (0.8 km) of the attack site over a period of 80 days (Howell 1982). “ http://www.broomfield.org/openspace/Coyote_Attacks_Baker_Timm.pdf

    As the report above indicated, part of the problem is the behavior of humans (Bambi syndrome) towards the coyotes. That is why I bring it up. I figure it is worth going OT if I save a kid from an attack because the parents are more alert and do not leave a toddler in the back yard untended. (A fenced yard will not stop a coyote BTW)

    By all means preserve the polar bears by regulating hunting but this making them the “Poster animal” of CAGW and Coca Cola promoting it sticks in my craw because it promotes the darn Bambi Syndrome.

    Worse by pointing to CAGW and lack of Ice as the problem then the ACTUAL problem, if there is one, is masked. You also getting the problem that people will no longer believe scientists because we have been lied to so often. Boy crying wolf and all that.

  114. Jeremy says:

    Did you know you’re likely safer in the water near a shark than you are near a polar bear?

    Save the sharks! They love us more!

  115. DesertYote says:

    Gail Combs
    December 17, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Peter Crawford says:
    December 17, 2011 at 11:16 am

    commieBob – “The local population wants to hunt more Polar Bears.The Canadian Government doesn’t want them to”, you say.

    If that is so then the first to complain about the decline in numbers would be the local hunters would it not?
    ______________________________
    YES! The first conservationists were hunters. You can be sure if the number of bears were declining the natives would be the first to scream because it would be whites who would have their hunting licenses revoked and NOT the natives.
    ###

    BTW, I am sure you already know this but in case you don’t, (American)Black Bear tags are an important source of funds for wildlife conservation efforts. And last time I checked, Black Bear populations were increasing.

  116. Sparks says:

    @John F Bruno says:

    If you claim to be concerned about the fragile Arctic ice and polar bears why travel around their environment disturbing the bears in these monsters? Moral Dilemma? You really don’t have an argument at all, nice pictures tho!

    https://picasaweb.google.com/110312667684005848760/ChurchillPolarBears#5675957943580828962

    https://picasaweb.google.com/110312667684005848760/ChurchillPolarBears#5675959848474619202

    https://picasaweb.google.com/110312667684005848760/ChurchillPolarBears#5675957815111733474

  117. Gail Combs says:

    DesertYote says:
    December 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    BTW, I am sure you already know this but in case you don’t, (American)Black Bear tags are an important source of funds for wildlife conservation efforts. And last time I checked, Black Bear populations were increasing.
    ________________________________
    I was aware that all hunting and fishing licenses went to conservation.

    BTW the last black bear I saw was trucking down the commuter rail right of way headed for Boston MA. I wonder if he stoped off at HAAVARD on his way. (snicker)

  118. commieBob says:

    Peter Miller says:

    My contention is that any research on ‘polar bears and climate change’ needs to be independently peer reviewed, not pal reviewed.

    I don’t think that is the problem. I am willing to believe that, if CAGW happens and all the arctic ice disappears, the polar bears are in deep trouble.

    The trouble is that the polar bear scientists are willing to accept that CAGW will happen. In other words, they are willing to accept a false premise. I am guessing that most people who are qualified to do a proper peer review of their work will accept the same false premise.

    There are some things that even the most honest peer review will not fix.

  119. Al Gored says:

    DesertYote says:
    December 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    “BTW, I am sure you already know this but in case you don’t, (American)Black Bear tags are an important source of funds for wildlife conservation efforts. And last time I checked, Black Bear populations were increasing.”

    And it all time historic highs. (

    Also, contrary to popular manufactured mythology, so are all North American grizzly bear populations with a few possible exceptions where there isn’t room for any more.

    Until the polar bears became the poster child for AGW, the grizzly bear was the most lied about bear by far. Because it is the poster child for the (fake) wilderness movement.

  120. DesertYote says:

    Gail Combs says:
    December 17, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    BTW the last black bear I saw was trucking down the commuter rail right of way headed for Boston MA. I wonder if he stoped off at HAAVARD on his way. (snicker)

    ###

    Maybe he was working on a business degree, you know, preparing for a bear market.

    BTW, I am amazed by peoples ignorance of the wildlife around them. A few years ago, a coyote was seen one morning in down town Portland OR. The paper reported it, and people were stunned. They did not know that coyotes were all around them, and always have been. I wonder how many of them realize how close they are living to cougar and bear!

  121. jorgekafkazar says:

    Just further evidence that the Warmistas are making this stuff up as they go along.

  122. RoHa says:

    “You now have polar bears coming into towns, getting into cabins, breaking property and just creating havoc for people up here,”

    Why are these people living up there, anyway?

    Surely no-one actually likes it, with the hideous climate, ferocious bears, and annoying climate scientists.

  123. Larry Fields says:

    DesertYote says:
    December 17, 2011 at 6:29 pm
    mentioned cougars.

    Here’s a little-known act: If you hike alone in the Sierra Nevada foothills, you’re slightly less likely to be attacked by a mountain lion if you’ve included some meat in your breakfast. The big cats can smell what you’ve eaten recently. The lingering smell of that Big Mac that you ate for breakfast will tell the cougar that you’re a carnivore, and definitely not a soft target.

    But what if you choose a bean burrito instead? Mua-ha-ha-ha!

  124. Bob Fernley-Jones says:

    Gail Combs et al,
    What I have to say here, although devoid of polar bear stuff, is not off-topic because it illustrates how opportunistic some animals can be, just like polar bears in extrapolation.

    The example of Coyotes attacking humans is somewhat comparable to the Oz so-called native dog; the Dingo. (thought to be introduced by our aborigines).
    Whilst in general, dingos are scared or very cautious with humans, in certain National Parks here, visitors have offered food to dingos despite the pleading from Rangers and warning signs not to do so. Consequently, they become almost tame in some places. Nevertheless, if a young child is left poorly attended with these same “tame” dingos, they may opportunistically try to eat him or her. There are several famous examples here.

    Also, for example, we have a beautiful but ferocious pure carnivore here known as the spotted quoll, see photos:
    http://www.arkive.org/spotted-tailed-quoll/dasyurus-maculates/image-G18251.html
    Following some severe forest wildfires here a few years ago, there was some concern that the species was threatened in those regions because much of its usual arboreal prey, such as possums, had perished. No worries, (to use an Aussie expression); when researchers analysed their scats, (faecal matter), they found that the quolls had changed their diet to rabbits, which formerly they did not eat. I think it’s called adaptation, which is arguably similar to or the other side of the coin to opportunism.

    Oh, and the introduced European red fox, is quite common within our cities and suburbs, where they raid various human discards and chickens etc. I saw a surprising TV doco, where foxes were stealing and running off with cultivated fallen apples. But then dogs and bears are actually omnivores, and posses intelligence, right?

  125. Jessie says:

    DesertYote says: December 17, 2011 at 6:29 pm
    Gail Combs says:December 17, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    That’d account for the bull c**p and the ‘bear’ then.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bulle_und_B%C3%A4r_Frankfurt.jpg

    source:
    The Frankfurt Stock Exchange is one of the (oldest &) largest stock exchanges in the world. It is owned and operated by Deutsche Börse, which also owns the European futures exchange Eurex and the clearing company Clearstream. http://www.finanznachrichten.de/nachrichten-2005-03/1877713-deutsche-boerse-withdraws-lse-offer-to-return-cash-to-shareholders-020.htm

  126. The Polar Bears are NOT the problem-PEOPLE are the problem. The polar bears were here first, folks. If human beings were not encroaching on their homes either by warming up the Earth and melting their homes or by building, maybe polar bears would not pose such a “problem.”

  127. John F. Hultquist says:

    Following the 127th comment I’ll add that I appreciate Dr. Bruno’s comments and his follow-ups. I live in coyote, cougar, and black bear country – and, while solo hiking, had a face-to-face encounter with a cinnamon colored black bear a few years ago. I’ll pass on the big white ones.

    Thanks, Dr. Bruno and all the rest of you. Do stay polite.

  128. John F Bruno says: (December 17, 2011 at 2:15 pm)

    That said, it isn’t warming per se that is a threat – it is the reduced temporal sea ice cover that is resulting from it that is causing problems. Yes, Bob Fernley-Jones, they eat algae and other stuff, but they can’t live without feasting on fat seals for most the year. Which is why they are called “lipovores”.

    If the bears have difficulty in getting to the algae, can the be persuaded to eat some other Greens? ;-)

  129. Bob Fernley-Jones says:

    Bernd Felsche @ December 17, 9:26 pm
    John F Bruno, please also note:

    If the bears have difficulty in getting to the algae, can they be persuaded to eat some other Greens?

    If you can believe Wikipedia on CAGW and environmental issues, the following extract on polar bears is interesting, with my bold:
    QUOTE: On average, each litter has two cubs.[72] The family remains in the den until mid-February to mid-April, with the mother maintaining her fast while nursing her cubs on a fat-rich milk.[72] By the time the mother breaks open the entrance to the den, her cubs weigh about 10 to 15 kilograms (22 to 33 lb).[72] For about 12 to 15 days, the family spends time outside the den while remaining in its vicinity, the mother grazing on vegetation while the cubs become used to walking and playing.[72] Then they begin the long walk from the denning area to the sea ice, where the mother can once again catch seals.[72] Depending on the timing of ice-floe breakup in the fall, she may have fasted for up to eight months.[72]

  130. Bob Fernley-Jones says:

    Further my post above at 10:36 pm, might I add that not only has the mother survived up to 2/3 of a year without any food intake but she has typically produced two cubs totalling 30 KG, (66 pounds), in an inefficient energy transfer, whilst maintaining adequate body temperature for both herself and the cubs, in a sub-zero environment. Stunning!

  131. DesertYote says:

    Al Gored
    December 17, 2011 at 6:02 pm
    ###

    I hear that brown bear populations have maxed out, just like wolf populations, given the management tools the environuts allow to be used. I remember reading a while back about an increase in brown bear black bear conflicts, something that has always been quite rare.

  132. DesertYote says:

    Larry Fields
    December 17, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    DesertYote says:
    December 17, 2011 at 6:29 pm
    mentioned cougars.

    Here’s a little-known act: If you hike alone in the Sierra Nevada foothills, you’re slightly less likely to be attacked by a mountain lion if you’ve included some meat in your breakfast. The big cats can smell what you’ve eaten recently. The lingering smell of that Big Mac that you ate for breakfast will tell the cougar that you’re a carnivore, and definitely not a soft target.

    But what if you choose a bean burrito instead? Mua-ha-ha-ha!
    ###

    Don’t need to be in the Sierra Nevada foothills to be in Cougar territory. When I lived in the North Bay, I would see a cat every few months on my walk to work. A couple of times I would see tracks on the dirt road in front of my house. People are so blind. They miss all the stuff around them.

    BTW, I think most creatures would steer clear of me after I have had a been burrito …..

  133. John Marshall says:

    bear survival seems no problem. Bear births are frequently multiple, two or three, with a survival rate of 100% in many families which indicates that there is plenty of food available. Ice seems not to be in the calculations as far as the bears are concerned. And the species survived the Medieval WP and the Roman WP both warmer than today.

  134. Sleepalot says:

    Dr (?) Bruno said “(bears need solid sea ice to hunt their seal prey)”

    (I’m not a scientist.) Are you saying that, if there were no Arctic ice, the seals would live their
    whole lives out at sea, while the bears would be stuck on land?

  135. Steve from Rockwood says:

    Gail Combs says:
    December 17, 2011 at 5:17 pm
    Steve from Rockwood says:
    December 17, 2011 at 3:37 pm
    —————————————————
    Gail, scientists crying wolf over AGW is a serious problem. I think many fence-sitters are becoming “deniers” just because of warning fatigue.
    I would also add that many of the northern native populations are growing rapidly and much of the population consists of young children. I’ve visited a few of these places myself and am always amazed at the number of young kids (under 10) playing around outside. These villages are cut out of true wilderness.

  136. John F Bruno says:

    Sleepalot @345: The bears would indeed be stuck on land and unable to access their prey, but many seal species are also ice-dependent and are as threatened by warming and pack ice loss as polar bears are. Not all of course. Harbor seals don’t need ice and anecdotally seem to be increasing in Hudson Bay.

  137. John F Bruno says:

    John Marshall @315: Where on earth did you get your (mis)information on polar bears?

  138. John F Bruno says:

    Bob Fernley-Jones @ 1054: It is stunning! What makes this possible (besides evolution) is all the calories she consumed the previous winter in the form of seals, that she stores as fat. No ice=no seals=no fat=no cubs.

  139. John F Bruno says:

    Bob Fernley-Jones @ 832 pm: Certainly bears and dogs are very intelligent and as a group are generally adaptable. And we all know that some species adapt to and benefit from human modification of the landscape; raccoons, rats, deer, some foxes, coyotes, pigeons, starlings, house sparrows, kudzu, etc. But isn’t it also obvious that not all species are so adaptable? There are both generalist and far more specialized and finicky plants and animals (as any gardener knows). Highly specialized species, generally speaking, don’t do well with environmental change, natural or otherwise.

  140. John F Bruno says:

    Thanks Sparks @ 534 pm: hypocrisy noted:) But you’ve gotta admit, those tundra buggies are so cool! They are custom built locally in Churchill.

  141. DJ says:

    On Saturday, Dec 6, 2008, someone videotaped polar bears in San Diego California. The high that day was 76degF. (according to wunderground.com)

    “Since polar bears have evolved to live in the extreme conditions of the Arctic, even minor climate changes could profoundly impact the species.”
    –earthjustice.org

  142. BioBob says:

    > John F Bruno says: BioBob @1006: The two species can successfully interbreed but they are > morphologically and ecologically very different. Which is why you don’t see brown bears
    > hunting for seals on the ice pack. Your argument is based on a very narrow definition of what a > “species” is – that is far too complex a discussion to get into here.
    ===========================================

    My given definition of a species is a standard one and, in fact, probably the most generally employed one. However, only a species knows the limits of how it defines its’ species since all species are racists, LOL.

    Lots of species have morphologically distinct sub-populations, It is the nature of the beast and in fact most species DO have morphologically and behaviorally distinct sub-populations that we call subspecies on the basis of the FACT that they interbreed on the species significant time-scale (the genetics mix enough so that interbreeding is possible). Ursus arctos is no different in that regard. It IS one species no matter how many tantrums you have, since polar bears decided that other populations of the species are suitable and successful mates. Polar bears don’t give a crap how you define their species and THEY get to decide, not you or any other human.

    Assuming that the entire population of the polar bear subspecies is wiped out, it seems likely that Ursus arctos will re-invade that habitat once it becomes suitable/possible and found a new subspecies. THAT is the USUAL biological sequence. There is NOTHING sacred about any particular species and earth makes it so, since millions of species have come and gone as a matter of course. NOTHING WE DO CAN CHANGE THAT PROGRESSION. And it is my contention that attempting to do so is not only futile but supremely stupid and arrogant.

    Keep in mind that “stupid and arrogant part” since it comprises the lethal error of most scientists since you too have come and WILL go. We ALL shuffle off this mortal coil.

  143. Bob Fernley-Jones says:

    John F Bruno @ December 18, 6:19 am
    Concerning evidence that pregnant females can fast for up to 2/3 of a year, whilst feeding cubs, and maintaining adequate body temperature for all, you wrote, with my bold:

    Bob Fernley-Jones @ 1054: It is stunning! What makes this possible (besides evolution) is all the calories she consumed the previous winter in the form of seals, that she stores as fat. No ice=no seals=no fat=no cubs.

    You seem to contradict yourself, after also writing this:

    Yes, Bob Fernley-Jones, [polar bears] they eat algae and other stuff, but they can’t live without feasting on fat seals for most the year. Which is why they are called “lipovores”.

    Well putting aside that they are omnivores, as demonstrated by them having been filmed eating plentiful supplies of summer berries etc, there is also this from Wikipedia, my bold:

    After mating, the fertilized egg remains in a suspended state until August or September. During these four months, the pregnant female eats prodigious amounts of food, gaining at least 200 kg (440 lb) and often more than doubling her body weight.[72]

    My word! You have declared some rather speculative beliefs, have you not?

  144. Paul in Sweden says:

    Several years ago I did quite a bit of digging and discussed this topic with several individuals. Back then I recall there were 24 distinct polar bear populations. In recent years I have notice time and time again that while the polar bears as a whole are increasing the population groupings are being reduced.

  145. Bob Fernley-Jones says:

    Paul in Sweden @ 6:43 pm.
    I don’t know what to make of your comments that the number of population groupings has reduced whilst population totals have increased. Do you know if groups have merged or if there are areas formerly the range of a group, that are now devoid of bears?

  146. Bob Fernley-Jones says:

    John Bruno,
    Further to my 1:31pm just above, that concluded with an observation on the “speculation factor” when biologists make their human assessments on what might prevail in other species with which we cannot communicate.

    A good example of my issue is my recollection of a paper from a few years ago that contained an image of a polar bear gazing out to sea, with a caption something like; A polar bear waits for the sea ice to return. Well sorry, but is that speculation, dogma, or what? How long do you think the bear will stand there waiting and longing for it to happen, and why? Although I have a strong interest in wildlife, I’m not a biologist, but as an engineer, I deal with applied scientific logic, and avoid taking risky assumptions because in my field, they can result in disastrous consequences. (unlike in academia, usually).
    Now let me suggest to you what I think is a more plausible guess as to what that bear was likely to be thinking: Hmm, after all those berries, I fancy a seaweed salad, to go with whatever else I can find on the seashore today. Or, I suppose I could go for a swim and sneak up underwater near a basking seal or under a paddling seabird. And, you never know, there may be a randy female out there to have fun and games with today. Don’t fancy clambering all the way to those bird colonies today!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I was also intrigued by your twice given assertion that polar bears like to rub their private parts or balls on the ice in order to avoid heat stress. I searched around for information on this, because I was highly entertained and wondered if polar bear testicles have much blubber and fur to protect them, and if it was geometrically possible for them to make contact with the ice. I also wondered if they remain descended at all times. Unsurprisingly there is a dearth of stuff on this wherever I looked, despite that I pursued it with some amused enthusiasm. Nevertheless, there was some other testicle and penis stuff of considerable OTHER interest, but meanwhile,would you please advise the basis of your assertions that these male bears rub their genitals on the ice to keep cool Then perhaps you could elaborate how female bears survive without such an ingenious cooling system?

    BTW, you did not respond to my earlier question as to how you know that it is easier for marauding bears to find food in winter, and what choice they have other than seals. (as I understand it, there are fewer species available in winter)

  147. Larry Fields says:

    John F Bruno, I have a couple of questions for you. What do you think about the shabby way that Mitch Taylor was treated by his fellow Polar Bear research ‘scientists’? Did you actively participate in the metaphorical tarring-and-feathering? Or did you sit on the sidelines, and clam up? Or did you have the cojones to speak out against it, thereby jeopardizing your research funding? If you choose not to respond, we’ll understand, and we’ll draw our own conclusions.

  148. Paul in Sweden says:

    @Bob Fernley-Jones

    You and me both. I really don’t know. The papers I have on the polar bears are archived on an old hard disk sitting on a shelf. I assumed that there must have been some reclassification or like you speculate, some polar bear populations were merged. I really have not a clue. It just continues to gnaw at me because that number 24 sticks in my head.

    All I really know is that in North America by mid-May polar bears stop dying(end of polar bear hunting season in Canada….) and that today there are so many polar bears that we see them falling from the sky on TV.

  149. Alex the skeptic says:

    Paul in Sweden says:
    December 18, 2011 at 6:43 pm
    Several years ago I did quite a bit of digging and discussed this topic with several individuals. Back then I recall there were 24 distinct polar bear populations. In recent years I have notice time and time again that while the polar bears as a whole are increasing the population groupings are being reduced.
    +++++++++++++
    Well, that’s because like humans, polar bears are globalising their world. LOL.
    Now, lets be serious, on what scientific grounds can one reach such a conclusion? DNA? And who is darting thousands of polar bears with anesthetic to get their DNA? How can one honestly declare such statements when we know that polar bears travel hundreds of miles, including swimming, how can one say to which sub-population one family of bears belong? Where’s the peer reviewed report?

  150. Jessie says:

    Bob Fernley-Jones says: December 18, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Perhaps of interest in your entertaining searches?
    Moller AP (1989) Ejaculate quality, testes size and sperm production in mammals Functional Ecology 3(1) p91-6 where he studies the literature published on 9 mammal species (species not described the overview however).

    Finally, I would like to invite Palmer or anybody else interested to
    personally inspect all data sheets in my office at their own expense to
    erase any doubt about the existence of the authentic data. I have all my
    notes since October 1969 neatly ordered so they are readily accessible. In
    addition, I would like to invite anybody at their own expense to join me in
    the field to see how asymmetry measurements are made, to check for feather
    breakage or molt, and to observe variation in asymmetry among individuals. A
    visit of less than a week would suffice for most people. And that would be a
    memorable week for most people. Please address enquiries and bookings to
    amoller@snv.jussieu.fr
    Anders Pape Moller
    dated 17 October 2005
    source: http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/palmer/pubs/05MollerComm/MollerExchange.htm

    and the response to Moller’s offer, published 5 years later
    Palmer AR & Hammond LM (2000)The Emperor’s Codpiece: A Post Modern Perspective on Biological Asymmetries Int’l Soc Behav. Ecol Newlsetter 12(2) p13-8
    http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/palmer.hp/pubs/00ISBENews/PALMER_Forum.pdf

    I note one of the Bruno’s photos posted where polar bears gathering to eat an ‘[old] grain spill’.
    As such I am still not clear whether the photos depict the same group of bears, attracted to ‘a spill’. Old or not. Sampling bias? or tourism?

    Additionally, I note that some posters think the polar bears may be proxy for some other argument. I was interested to read Over Fishing 101: Dissecting Sectors posted on your blog. And the reforms introducing voluntary cooperatives (termed ‘sectors’) under the New England Fisheries Mgt Council for groundfish fishing. The film posted [Beneath the Waves Film Festival 2012] ‘Sharks in Deep Trouble’ describe ‘modern humans as appearing 45,000 years ago and spread like a killer virus…’ and the need for …………. management.
    http://theseamonster.net/

  151. J. Felton says:

    Al Gored said

    “…Also, contrary to popular manufactured mythology, so are all North American grizzly bear populations with a few possible exceptions where there isn’t room for any more.”

    * * *

    Exactly right. And as a result of places where they’ve run out of room for their population explosion, they’ve done something simple; they moved.
    On the islands littering the North West Coast, we are now seeing grizzlies that weren’t here as little as a few decades ago. The reason is because of island-hopping. Bears are excellent swimmers, and going back in forth between islands really isn’t a problem for them. ( Especially if there’s a good food source.)

    The best sources of information on any wildlife are the people who live and work in an area all-year round.These are the people who keep records, and could tell you if anything has changed. Not some yuppy Greenpeace biologist who flies up for a few days and spends half of it in the hot tub at the Holiday Inn..
    I grew up with black bears and cougars in the neighborhood. One time several friends of mine fell asleep on the beach in the hot sun. When they woke up, they were surrounded by cougar paw prints – prints that weren’t there an hour ago. Nobody wanted to go camping them again, that’s for sure.

  152. Jessie says:

    J Felton @3.48 am

    I am not sure that those who live AND work in an area all the year around always have the best source of information. Or at least they may have the best source of information [observation] but for a range of reasons that information does not get used [by academics] or is omitted. I noted much discussion on land and sea (changes), native populations, knowledge and hunting in the comments. And some on changes (and loss) in genetic material of populations [studied as hypothesised to be at risk].

    The excerpt below I have not read being referenced by the Australian academics who [selectively] quote ‘on-the-ground’ experts Nor referenced as being a cause of loss of language/dialect (or particular cultural behaviour) in sub-groups. .
    Professor Ted Strehlow Aborigines Artefacts and Anguish by Ward McNally 1981.

    “He refrained from drawing the media’s attention –and thereby that of the judges – to any specific case known to him when vengeance had been taken in this way and killings had occurred; but he told me of one such incident that his father had been witness to, and which had resulted in the murder of numerous people.

    Strehlow said: ‘I was a child of seven when the incident I’m about to relate occurred, and I still carry the memory of it in my mind. It was frightening.

    There was some kind of hatred smouldering between the Western Arandas and the Kukatja. No one seemed to know what started it – only that it existed, and, from time to time, threatened the tranquillity of life as it then existed in the Hermannsburg part of central Australia…

    During the early part of 1914, a big group of Kukatja men came to Hermannsburg community for an informal visit. Perhaps the Western Arandas had invited them in the hope of making a lasting peace with them. I don’t know if that was so or not – only that they came. And, for what seemed to me to be several weeks, both tribes appeared to get on very well together. All the Aborigines – the camp blacks (as those living in and around the Mission were called) and the Kukatja men – were extremely courteous to each other. But, eventually, old sores were uncovered and anger flared; when a fight was imminent, both sides agreed to go to X creek (which runs into X river, a good kilometre west of Hermannsburg) so that my father would not know about it, and it would be impossible for anyone to go and bring him back to put a stop to it before it was settled and someone was badly hurt.

    Once the two groups arrived at the site designated for the fight, spears, boomerangs and even butcher knives were produced. Soon blood was flowing as members of the opposing groups slashed at each other vigorously. After a while, one of the Aranda men stuck his butcher knife into the leg of his Kukatja opponent, almost cutting the leg off at the knee. Naturally, with such a deep cut, the main artery was severed, and there was a sudden halt to proceedings as blood gushed from then man’s leg in spurts. Within the space of seconds, the Kukatja man fell dead from loss of blood. Then, almost without a single word, the Arandas felt ominously silent, collecting their belongings, and called to their women and children to follow them from the scene of the fatal fight….

    A few weeks later, as I recall, a band of Kukatja blood-avengers rapidly made their way over the red sand hills near Gosse’s range. They were almost impossible to see in the night as they moved silently, avoiding all the known paths and the soakages. In the pale light of the moon they completed the remaining 30 or so kilometres to Hermannsburg and concealed themselves below the low stone hills that lay three or four hundred metres north-west of the Mission. They waited until 3am before they moved downwards towards the Aboriginal camp, taking protection in the darkness and the knowledge that, as the Aborigines say, “sleep seals the eyelids of the slumbering more securely in the small hours of the morning than at any other time”. Three groups of sleeping Aranda men and women, and perhaps as many dogs, slept on, unaware of the fate approaching them. By the time the blood-avengers were in position to strike at their sleeping victims, they could distinguish them clearly by the light from the dying glow of the fires that had warmed the sleepers throughout the chill of the night…

    At a pre-arranged signal from the leader of the blood-avengers, the Kukatjas drove their spears into the bodies of their unsuspecting and unknown victims. Then they turned and fled, leaving many Aranda men, women and children dead or dying. The screams and the wailing that followed were frightening to hear, and friends who had been sleeping elsewhere rushed to the aid of the stricken, ripping out the barbed spear heads from wounds in which they had been left. The removal of the barbs caused ugly, deep gashes to be exposed, and those who were not killed in the revenge attack were in a desperate plight within two or three days, as their wounds became a squirming stench of maggots. It wasn’t long before those people died, too. If my memory serves me correctly, only three from something like 39 people lived through that attack…

    So, you see, that is what tribal law can do…’ ”

    And those that support such divisions in law between the peoples of a country.

  153. Jay Davis says:

    John F. Bruno, I admire your tenacity. We skeptics are a cynical lot, so please forgive us if we either don’t believe or discount heavily any study about the supposed demise of the polar bears, especially when the study involves “models” and/or the buzzwords “global warming” and “climate change”.
    When it comes to the polar bear populations themselves, polar bears are predators, and like every other predator, their population numbers go up and down with their prey populations. And being very mobile, polar bears can easily move to where the food is. And being omnivorous, they adapt their diet before they move to what is available. So if a population in a given area declines, we cannot say they are “threatened” or “endangered” unless we can prove without a doubt that the decrease is not due to migration (I’ll also throw in over-hunting). To the best of my knowlege, none of the alarmist “scientists” have even attempted to do that.

  154. J. Felton says:

    Jessie@512

    Hadn’t thought of it that way! Thanks, much appreciated.

  155. timg56 says:

    Just a comment about some of the responses to John Bruno.

    Agreement with your own opinion(s) is not a prerequesite for courtesy and respect towards others. John has added information to the discussion. Whether you agree with his conclusions concerning the state of polar bear populations and any connection to environmental change or not, nothing good comes out of saying he’s a kook, lefty, acquainted with manipulators of data or any of the other rather foolish statements seen here. Consider this – do you want to be grouped with the following selection of well heard “voices” in the debate ; Michael Mann, Gavin Schmidt, Tamino (aka Grant Foster) or even a lesser light such as dana1981? Voices who have no problem with being condenscending and resorting to name calling.

  156. Bob Fernley-Jones says:

    Jessie @ December 19, 2:29 am

    Perhaps of interest in your [Bob_FJ] entertaining searches?
    Moller AP (1989) Ejaculate quality, testes size and sperm production in mammals Functional Ecology 3(1) p91-6 where he studies the literature published on 9 mammal species …”

    Thankyou Jessie for the additional entertainment, with a long and interesting comment. I’ve not had time to properly read the long Email stream, but I get the idea. The lengthy paper on how species internal interactions are enhanced by anatomical symmetry, (and comparison with opposites), was very smile producing for me, if a bit laboured on what would seem to be an extremely obvious condition, regardless of species. (and not warranting public funds to research in a big way). For instance, if Angelina Jolie had a substantially bent nose, or obviously asymmetric breasts, I doubt that she would be as cinematically popular as she is.

    I only had a quick read of the paper but one thing I recollect as an item of great value was that a certain species of toad when vomiting does not convulse its body symmetrically, but skews and spews from one side. I must keep that in mind for my next dinner party, and maybe I should go through the paper again more thoroughly to see if there are any other gems to share, even if it might be the last dinner party I may be invited to.

  157. Jessie says:

    Bob Fernley-Jones says: December 19, 2011 at 7:58 pm
    :)

    Do make the time over the Christmas and the break into the New Year to watch Babette’s Feast Bob. A gem of a movie.
    And of course the discourse re Moller et al.

    I thoroughly enjoy your (and others) entertaining and informative posts on WUWT, thank you.

  158. Bob Fernley-Jones says:

    John F Bruno,
    I notice that you have become rather quiet lately on this thread on certain questions that have been raised. Maybe you are too busy heading down to those nice coral reefs in the Southern Hemisphere, but meanwhile for the record, here is the text of a personal Email that I’ve sent you:

    Hi John,
    Following your advice at WUWT that male polar bears relieve their heat stress caused by AGW by contacting their genitals with the ice, I’ve searched around for information on this, and was surprised by what I found. There are many reports from around 2006, giving that their testicles are shrinking, probably as a consequence of pollution. However, there does not seem to be much follow-up on the issue, so maybe those concerns are no longer as bad as we thought.
    However, it seems to me that If the bears over-do the cooling practice, that their testicles will get colder than intended from their original adaptations prior to AGW. Furthermore, from human observations, cold conditions tend to cause contraction of testicles, and loss of albedo. Sperm count and quality, might also become an issue, and I worry if we might see a reduction of the size and number of cub litters as a consequence of this aspect of AGW.
    If not already in progress, may I suggest that you or your colleagues conduct some research on this hypothesis? If it turns-out that it is a serious reality, it would then seem to be appropriate to engineer some management strategies; difficult though that might be. A tricky one; maybe some kind of belt or girdle to protect the testicles. After all, the female bears seem to cope without the luxury of testicular cooling.
    Yours sincerely,
    Bob Fernley-Jones

  159. Bob Fernley-Jones says:

    Whoops,
    In my 9:57 pm above, I made a malapropism.
    When I wrote loss of albedo, what I really meant was loss of libido
    Sorry!

  160. John Webb says:

    Crazy question for all of you illustrious graduates of University of Nowhere (who I hear has a wonderful science PhD programs). Suppose, hypothetically, that the natural habitat of the polar bear were being reduced… would this have the effect of increasing human-polar bear interaction, or decreasing it? Think REALLY hard here about what happens when an animal that NORMALLY prefers its seclusion doesn’t have the option of it.

    Wow. Just… wow.

  161. John Webb @ December 28, 9:52 am
    John,
    In the context of your suggestion:
    During the “warm” months, there is a tendency for the bears to remain on land because of less sea-ice, so population density is hardly altered by weather year to year. During the cold months, they are claimed to depend on the sea-ice, well, the males anyway, so again, their population density would not appear to be an issue. Pregnant females den on land of course, as may some non-pregnant females.

    BTW, try dividing 20,000 to 25,000 by the land area over the huge range that they inhabit

    You may be interested in this extract from: http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/polar-bears/bear-essentials-polar-style/adaptation/home-range-and-cold-climate

    A polar bear’s home range can be enormous, far greater than that of any other species of bear. One Alaskan polar bear’s home range was found to be 45 times the size of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which supports some 400 black bears.

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