Polar bear group admits population estimates were a “guess”

IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group says its global population estimate was “a qualified guess”

pbsg logoBy Dr. Susan Crockford

Last week (May 22), I received an unsolicited email from Dr. Dag Vongraven, the current chairman of the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG).

 

The email from Vongraven began this way:

Dr. Crockford

Below you’ll find a footnote that will accompany a total polar bear population size range in the circumpolar polar bear action plan that we are currently drafting together with the Parties to the 1973 Agreement. This might keep you blogging for a day or two.” [my bold]

It appears the PBSG have come to the realization that public outrage (or just confusion) is brewing over their global population estimates and some damage control is perhaps called for. Their solution — bury a statement of clarification within their next official missive (which I have commented upon here).

Instead of issuing a press release to clarify matters to the public immediately, Vongraven decided he would let me take care of informing the public that this global estimate may not be what it seems.

OK, I’ll oblige (I am traveling in Russia on business and finding it very hard to do even short posts – more on that later). The footnote Vongraven sent is below, with some comments from me. You can decide for yourself if the PBSG have been straight-forward about the nature of their global population estimates and transparent about the purpose for issuing it.

Here is the statement that the PBSG proposes to insert as a footnote in their forthcoming Circumpolar Polar Bear Action Plan draft:

As part of past status reports, the PBSG has traditionally estimated a range for the total number of polar bears in the circumpolar Arctic. Since 2005, this range has been 20-25,000. It is important to realize that this range never has been an estimate of total abundance in a scientific sense, but simply a qualified guess given to satisfy public demand. It is also important to note that even though we have scientifically valid estimates for a majority of the subpopulations, some are dated. Furthermore, there are no abundance estimates for the Arctic Basin, East Greenland, and the Russian subpopulations. Consequently, there is either no, or only rudimentary, knowledge to support guesses about the possible abundance of polar bears in approximately half the areas they occupy. Thus, the range given for total global population should be viewed with great caution as it cannot be used to assess population trend over the long term. [my bold]

So, the global estimates were “…simply a qualified guess given to satisfy public demand” and according to this statement, were never meant to be considered scientific estimates, despite what they were called, the scientific group that issued them, and how they were used (see footnote below).

All this glosses over what I think is a critical point: none of these ‘global population estimates’ (from 2001 onward) came anywhere close to being estimates of the actual world population size of polar bears (regardless of how scientifically inaccurate they might have been) — rather, they were estimates of only the subpopulations that Arctic biologists have tried to count.

For example, the PBSG’s  most recent global estimate (range 13,071-24,238) ignores five very large subpopulation regions which between them potentially contain 1/3 as many additional bears as the official estimate includes (see map below). The PBSG effectively gives them each an estimate of zero.

Figure 1. Based on previous PBSG estimates and other research, there are probably another 6,000-9,000 (perhaps less but perhaps more) bears living in the regions marked in black above, although suitably “scientific” population surveys have not been done. These bears are not included in the most recent PBSG “global population estimate” – a ‘rough guess,’ such as suggested here, has been deemed of no use to the PBSG, so their population estimate is “zero.”  CS, Chukchi Sea; LS, Laptev Sea; KS, Kara Sea; EG, East Greenland; AB, Arctic Basin.

Based on previous PBSG estimates and other research reports, it appears there are probably at least another 6,000 or so bears living in these regions and perhaps as many as 9,000 (or more) that are not included in any PBSG “global population estimate”: Chukchi Sea ~2,000-3,000; East Greenland, ~ 2,000-3,000; the two Russian regions together (Laptev Sea and Kara Sea), another ~2,000-3,000 or so, plus 200 or so in the central Arctic Basin. These are guesses, to be sure, but they at least give a potential size

In other words, rather than assigning a “simple, qualified guess” for these subpopulations that have not been formally counted as well as those that have been counted (generating a total figure that is indeed a “global population estimate,” however inaccurate), the PBSG have been passing off their estimate of counted populations as a true global population estimate, with caveats seldom included.

more here: http://polarbearscience.com/2014/05/30/iucn-polar-bear-specialist-group-says-its-global-population-estimate-was-a-qualified-guess/

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106 thoughts on “Polar bear group admits population estimates were a “guess”

  1. Very interesting! I suppose that next we’ll hear from the IPCC as follows:

    “It is important to realize that the global average temperature never has been an estimate of the REAL temperature of the Earth in a scientific sense, but simply a qualified guess given to satisfy public demand.”

  2. Isn’t it funny how these “qualified guesses” always turn out to slant things in the most alarmist and sensationalist way possible?

    I suppose they think that their data was “fake, but accurate.”

  3. Over here in England we have a scientist called Brian Cox. He’s very popular. He is one of those scientists that believes science is pure – he’s also a total believer in man-made climate change. I just wish (whenever these sort of things come up) I could say to him, “See, you believe this? Seriously?”.

  4. Just a qualified guess but… I’d say the PBSG’s work is pure politics and definitely not science.

  5. And these “… global estimates (that) were “…simply a qualified guess given to satisfy public demand” and according to this statement, were never meant to be considered scientific estimates …” were used to determine that polar bears were an endangered species.

  6. Do these people get paid? Do they collect a salary, a stipend? Who funds these fools? Consider all the money spent, all the policy written, all the donations given and all the little kids now in therapy over the pending extinction of these cute polar bears based on a guess. My students guess at answers and I expect that because they are students, We must demand more from scholarly professionals. I suggest these people begin to earn their money and get outta their warm well funded headquarters, head out on the ice and ear tag each and every Bear. They better get moving before winter sets in.

  7. Millions of children cried themselves to sleep over fake reports. Remember that when the Church of Global Warming says: “We do for the children.”

  8. Remember when the public was demanding fake polar bear numbers? …I don’t.

  9. Thanks to Dr. Crockford for shining light on this subject. It would appear the bears are doing just fine. But, the image of the polar bear clinging to a small piece of ice will continue to be published repeatedly as a warning of what is in store for us.

  10. Polar bears endangered lots of money , Polar bear numbers healthy and growing bye bye cash .
    Now you decided which approach is going to be taken by those looking to do research in this area.

  11. The 20-25,000 was actually proof that the population has been expanding. The previous estimate was 5,000.

  12. The PBSG is nothing more than a Marxist vanguard organization. It does not take long reading there publications or the information on their web site to come to this conclusion. Everything that come from them must clear a central comity of ideologues to insure that it provides the proper messaging before release.

    The whole reason for having a Polar Bear Specialty Group was because the Bear Specialty Group was too heavily involved with Science. Some bear specialists even have political views contrary to what right thinking lefties hold dear, and they are allowed to have a voice! Its hard to produce consistent agitprop with conditions like this.

  13. You mean they could not do some modeling to support that the polar bear population is going down? If it has not been done, this should be a great opportunity to submit some research proposals for at least a $100 million.

  14. This is kind of like that game you play with your kids on a long road trip: “I’m thinking of a number between one and one thousand”

  15. “Thus, the range given for total global population should be viewed with great caution as it cannot be used to assess population trend over the long term.”

    So based on PBSG’s estimates, no one can say if the “global” polar bear population is stable, growing, or shrinking. We may be able to tell if an individual subpopulation is growing or shrinking, but only if that subpopulation has been well-studied.

    According to Polar Bears International, the IUCN PBSG reported in 2013 that 4 subpops are declining, 5 are stable, 1 is growing, and 9 (count ‘em) subpops have “insufficient data”. But wait, now Dr. Vongraven admits that even some of the “scientifically valid estimates” are “dated”! So apparently data “insufficient” to even estimate polar bear population trends is sufficient to list polar bears as “threatened”. WUWT?

    http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/science/polar-bear-status-report?gclid=CMDZqfSe3L4CFY17fgod1nYAZQ

  16. I find it puzzling that a supposedly endangered (cough cough) species doesn’t receive at least a semi-serious head count. Is it because of difficulties in conducting one (too cold to go out and do it, perhaps?), or because they don’t really care as much as they’re making out?

  17. No worries! The spotlight has been taken off the polar bears and is now shining on the poor Antarctic penguin. Their numbers are dwindling you know. They’re almost extinct. Did you hear? And there’s only, exactly, roughly, about……ohhh…..132 left. That’s their best guess.

    No wait. 123. The counters were dyslexic.

  18. Qualified? Incompetent as it can be or a complete fraud!
    A qualified guess of Polar Bear population according to last countings is between 20 000 to 22 000 Polar Bears….. IF the latest value is used for an analyse, in other word if 11,314,078 km2 (June 1, 2014) is divided with the largest estimated number of Polar Bears, this will give EVERY Polar Bear more than 514 square kilometer polar ice to each Polar Bear. In other words the area for each polar bear to be on his/her own on is appriximate close to six times the area of Manhattan (with 2 decimals 5,87) source for Polar Ice Sheet area Arctic Sea Ice Extent, ijis.iarc.uaf.edu for June 1st 2014

    Thus it can’t have been an “estimation” the Polar bear group used, the figures for the number of Polar Bear was as incorrect as could have been,
    the figures for the Ice Sheet area is a complete fraudic figure,
    and the group showed above all incompetence in Mathematic Statistic analyse not to mention that they never understood basic knowledge in Theories of Science.

    Some people never learn elementary knowledge needed in Science studies if they are to be called scientists, experts and so on :-)

  19. I applaud Vongraven’s efforts to finally come clean and hope it is the beginning of a different type of relationship with “the public”. It’s a step forward, people. Not everything is reason to complain.

  20. What does Coca Cola have to say about this ? You’ll remember the white can polar bear campaign with donations to Greenpus … maybe there is a case for fraud?

  21. I always laugh when I hear that a local polar bear population has declined. You could say some polar bears have moved. Bear in mind that a radio-collared adult female polar bear was clocked on “a continuous swim of 687 km over 9 days and then intermittently swam and walked on the sea ice surface an additional 1,800 km.”

  22. If their estimate of the counted portion of the global population was only a guess, why have they steadfastly refused to guess the population size of the uncounted portion of the population? Why have the PBSG refused to issue an estimate of the entire global population, even if it’s only their best guess? Curious, that.

    It’s called funding cuts and loss of self importance. Imagine that! Them having to say polar bear population has grown to over 30,000. The fact is polar bear numbers are too high and we must act now. It’s worse than we thought.

  23. Once again skeptics are proven to be justifiable skeptical. Once again, the climate obsession community is proven to be wrong.

  24. a bit like this***

    (3 pages) 1 June: Washington Times: Rowan Scarborough: Pentagon wrestles with bogus climate warnings as funds shifted to green agenda
    Ten years ago, the Pentagon paid for a climate study that put forth many scary scenarios.
    Consultants told the military that, by now, California would be flooded by inland seas, The Hague would be unlivable, polar ice would be mostly gone in summer, and global temperatures would rise at an accelerated rate as high as 0.5 degrees a year.
    None of that has happened.

    The 2003 report was produced by a consulting firm, then called the Global Business Network, for the Pentagon’s office of net assessment. It is a driving force to allocate money to counter global threats — in this case, climate change…

    ***Asked about his scenarios for the 2003-2010 period, Mr. Randall said in an interview: “The report was really looking at worst-case. And when you are looking at worst-case 10 years out, you are not trying to predict precisely what’s going to happen but instead trying to get people to understand what could happen to motivate strategic decision-making and wake people up. But whether the actual specifics came true, of course not. That never was the main intent.”…

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jun/1/pentagon-wrestles-with-false-climate-predictions-a/

    i suggest George Monbiot, Suzanne Goldenberg & other CAGW-pushers who have pushed this report to inform their readers it was bogus.o

  25. Donna Quixote says:
    June 2, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    No worries! The spotlight has been taken off the polar bears and is now shining on the poor Antarctic penguin. Their numbers are dwindling you know. They’re almost extinct. Did you hear? And there’s only, exactly, roughly, about……ohhh…..132 left. That’s their best guess.

    If only you knew how near to the bone you are Donna. In the Spring of 2012 a miracle occurred.

    13 April 2012
    Emperor Penguin Numbers Double Previous Estimates, Satellites Show
    …. Emperor penguins in Antarctica are far more plentiful than previously thought, a study that used extremely high-resolution imagery snapped by satellites has revealed.

    “It surprised us that we approximately doubled the population estimate,” said Peter Fretwell, a scientist with the British Antarctic Survey and lead author of a paper published today in the journal PLoS One…..

    “I imagine that there will be other species analyzed in a similar way in future,” he said.

    http://www.livescience.com/19677-emperor-penguin-numbers-double-previous-estimates-satellites-show.html

    I can foresee funding CUTS for these kinds of studies in future. Climate science is a funny old game.

  26. So the powers that be demanded a low polar bear count and these “scientists” pulled some numbers out of their arses to oblige them.

  27. Sorry, y’all, but I’m waiting until Mosher says that a guy with a Ouija board in a closet in Cedar Rapids is better than actually counting until I make up my mind on this one.

  28. I guess billionaire activist groups and their benefactors don’t want to fund a count. They’d rather badger the polar bear groups to give low ball esimates. As an engineer, how hard can it be – it is a big territory admittedly. There are no trees, though.

    Let me help with some ideas: a) Low tech (I). wait until the ice is a few weeks from minimum to concentrate the population. Also, where snow and ice are gone from shores, you can see these guys without trouble, maybe even from a satellite, but certainly from an aircraft. Make it a 5 year project. Fly survey lines over the ice areas and along shore lines. Have a Hasselblad camera hanging out and photograph strips along the flight route. Look also for signs of seals and other prey. Basically most of these bears will be along the shore. One trip around Greenland (they aren’t likely hunting in the interior of this sub-continent) is about 30,000km because of its denticular shape. There should be more bears on the Davis Strait side than the open Atlantic and probably more in the southern half of the country. Divide each side into10 intervals and survey half of each. It would be a matter of only a few weeks to do the survey. Repeat it next year using the alternate intervals and compare. Similarly do the Canadian Arctic Islands. Finally do the mainline coasts of Canada, Alaska, Russia and Scandinavia. Probably residents of Svalbard etc. can give you their numbers. If it was done by several international teams each responsible for a region, you would have some decent data after the first year. The next 4 years, swap territories.

    Low tech (II) buy a boat load of fish and drop these in red bags that can be spotted in more remote areas (one bag per 1000 sq km) where counts are non existent. Check back. For extra duty, drag a whale into the open in some of these area (and see high tech methods below)

    High tech (I): Are these guys out at night? Use infrared cameras away from human populations. You might get images in a swath several miles wide.

    High tech (II): rig cameras in remote areas, maybe with a bag of fish nearby.

    Now I’m prepared to be shot down with these ideas by those who actually know the bears. But not by someone who has to find a bear, shoot it with a dart and hang a gps and serial number on it. For this price he could have simply found 50 bears for each he would have darted.

  29. Yet another prime example of the systemic illness contracted by many scientists from global warming. Anthropogenicitis! ⚠

  30. 20 to 25,000 is one hell of a range; over three orders of magnitude.

    By anybody’s standards, that qualifies as a truly wild arsed guess (WAG).

    Yes I would say the group needs to come clean, pronto.

  31. george e. smith says:
    June 2, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    “20 to 25,000 is one hell of a range; over three orders of magnitude.”
    I read that and I assumed the range was between 20,000 and 25,000…maybe I am incorrect.

  32. same could be said about CAGW models!

    3 June: Bloomberg: Unstoppable $100 Trillion Bond Market Renders Models Useless
    By Susanne Walker and Liz Capo McCormick
    If the insatiable demand for bonds has upended the models you use to value them, you’re not alone.
    Just last month, researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York retooled a gauge of relative yields on Treasuries, casting aside three decades of data that incorporated estimates for market rates from professional forecasters. Priya Misra, the head of U.S. rates strategy at Bank of America Corp., says a risk metric she’s relied on hasn’t worked since March.
    After unprecedented stimulus by the Fed and other central banks made many traditional models useless, investors and analysts alike are having to reshape their understanding of cheap and expensive as the global market for bonds balloons to $100 trillion. With the world’s biggest economies struggling to grow and inflation nowhere in sight, catchphrases such as “new neutral” and “no normal” are gaining currency to describe a reality where bonds are rallying the most in a decade…
    ‘How Wrong’
    “I don’t expect the consensus to be right, I’m just surprised by how wrong it has been,” Jim Bianco, president of Chicago-based Bianco Research LLC, said by telephone on May 28…

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-06-01/the-unstoppable-100-trillion-bond-market-renders-models-useless.html

  33. Polar bears just can’t stand the terrible heat in the Arctic. That’s why they are in many zoos in Europe.

    EcoWatch
    The heat-stressed polar bears in Hudson Bay, Canada dig holes in the dirt, trying to stay cool by lying on the permafrost below.

    http://ecowatch.com/2013/12/06/polar-bears-in-peril-from-climate-change-hunting/

    Of course.

    The Daily News – 26 November 1936
    Black Swan Dies In Sudden Heat Wave, But Polar Bears Survive.
    ….Strangely enough it was a native of Western Australia that died as a result of the sud- den vagary of Western Austra-lian weather — an old black swan closed its peaceful life.

    http://tinyurl.com/omth8c2

    ==============

    BBC – 24 Fevruary 2004
    Polar bears turn green in Singapore
    … “The harmless algae is the result of Singapore’s warm and humid climate,” spokesman Vincent Tan told the Associated Press news agency.

    Jolly green giants

    Two bears at the zoo have been afflicted by the algae so far – Sheba and her 13-year-old son, Inuka. …

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3518631.stm

    Sheba was introduced into the zoo in 1988 and apparently lived beyond her expected captive lifespan. It’s worse than we thought! Send money now!

  34. So, for at least 13 years, with all the shouts about the threatened polar bear populations, the PBSG has seen fit to remain quiet about the fact that the actual polar bear population was and remains unknown.

    In this, we are graced with yet one more example of responsible parties succumbing to intellectual cowardice rather than face the object character assassination levied by green activists and their NGOs. Despite a profound ethical duty, the scientists of the PBSG haven’t the courage of their convictions. One can only hope for the day when these integrity-betraying scientists know to hang their heads in shame.

    Scientific knowledge is the impervious shield against subjective criticisms and accusations. Nevertheless, science itself seems replete with professionals who fail to understand their strength and fear to deploy it.

  35. To get an accurate count I recommend that the scientists who made up the number fix the problem by putting a dot of red nail polish on the nose of each polar bear they count. Eh, you might have to go through a lot of researchers, but at least it solves the problem of double-counting.

  36. When the news media wants a story that bleeds, climate scientists will provide one.

  37. The word that comes to mind is “Fabrication.”

    I.e. a deliberate and pre-metated act of Fraud.

    Very bad old boys at IUCN !

  38. What’s the big deal about polar bears? If hungry enough they will track down and kill people. I don’t want to be on anything’s diet. I am at the top of the food chain and I don’t want to share that position with anything. I believe that polar bears should be shot on sight. Great white sharks, too. These things are not cuddly animals. We grew up with these leftist, eco-green images. It’s a bunch of garbage. Mankind would be better off killing anything that considers us food. What would be the great ecological problem/loss if we wiped out species that made food of us?

  39. Dan says:
    > June 2, 2014 at 8:39 pm
    >
    > Coca-cola anyone?

    Or, to quote one of their old slogans… “The paws that refreshes”. (Sorry about that)

  40. “””””…..faboutlaws says:

    June 2, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    What’s the big deal about polar bears? If hungry enough they will track down and kill people. I don’t want to be on anything’s diet……”””””

    I grew up in a place like you want.

    I can tell you, that you would have vermin running all over the place; and mostly the kinds you wouldn’t eat.

    But where I live now, is slowly becoming like that. And my friends and neighbors wanted it that way, because they voted for the people that voted for it.

  41. “””””…..H.R. says:

    June 2, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    To get an accurate count I recommend that the scientists who made up the number fix the problem by putting a dot of red nail polish on the nose of each polar bear they count. Eh, you might have to go through a lot of researchers, but at least it solves the problem of double-counting……”””””

    Well purple ink on the paws is the preferred modern method of marking those that are already counted.

  42. So what has happened to cause PBSG to make this admission now, after how many years (9?) when they remained silent while popular press articles, scholarly reports, and official IPCC findings were promoting incorrect numbers?

  43. “””””…..davideisenstadt says:

    June 2, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    george e. smith says:
    June 2, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    “20 to 25,000 is one hell of a range; over three orders of magnitude.”
    I read that and I assumed the range was between 20,000 and 25,000…maybe I am incorrect……”””””

    Well if you read 20,000 to 25,000, it certainly wasn’t on this blog. This is a SCIENCE blog, where numbers mean something.

  44. I know I’ve seen more than one wildlife show on the National Geographic cable channels implying that our effect on the climate is slowly killing the polar bears off. I particularly remember a long, drawn-out sequence showing the plight of a mother polar bear and her cub as they tried to survive a migration journey with reduced fat stores because their hunting habitat was supposedly ruined by global warming. Somebody please forward this memo to them and tell them to stop traumatizing viewers with images of baby polar bear corpses and sad looking polar bear mothers…..

  45. I had a bear biologist admit this to me while I was in the arctic circle photographing them. You should have seen the looks of the faces of the Californians/Chicagoans that were with us. They couldn’t believe it!

    “but Gore said…”

  46. I disagree. I don’t think they have come clean at all. I reckon they have highly accurate estimates of bear numbers. Let’s face it there has been a massive amount of money pumped into “proving” CC. However they are now stuck with numbers that totally challenge their assumptions. So rather than come clean it is easier to swallow a lesser embarrassment by saying they were only guessing and avoid declaring the complete numbers. This leaves the impression that they still might be right. This dog don’t hunt!

  47. NoFixedAddress says:
    June 2, 2014 at 7:24 pm
    Quite frankly I hope every white bear in the world dies!

    If your wish could come true, then polar bears are saved!
    • Each hair shaft is pigment-free and transparent with a hollow core
    • Polar bears have black skin
    Sources: 1 | 2 | 3

  48. faboutlaws says:
    June 2, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    What’s the big deal about polar bears? If hungry enough they will track down and kill people. I don’t want to be on anything’s diet. I am at the top of the food chain and I don’t want to share that position with anything. I believe that polar bears should be shot on sight. Great white sharks, too…….

    You sound like a Warmist Trojan.

    I disagree with you all the way, except for the bit about polar bears not being cuddly. ;-)

  49. Perhaps someone could try and edit the Wikipedia entry for Polar Bears? That would be an interesting exercise!

  50. In Canada, the people “up North” will tell you that the Polar Bear population is healthy and growing. The famous video of the poor bear all by himself on a piece of ice, balancing like he was on a surfboard, brought much Canadian laughter. They can swim, you know (bears, not the Canadians).
    I’m waiting for the day that “they” decide “they” need to do a cull to protect the local population of humans, because there are too many bears. The Disinformation hurts us all, not just Man. I think Mother Nature knows more than we do.

  51. Since 2005, this range has been 20-25,000.

    Twenty (20) to twenty five thousand (25,000)? An excellent estimate.
    Make the range as wide as possible and your guess of the unknown population size will be some number within the spread of these probabilities.

  52. george e. smith says:
    June 2, 2014 at 9:36 pm
    ….well, my inference is certainly more reasonable than your interpretation…
    not that a range of 20k to 25k is that narrow…
    pissiness isnt an admirable trait, you know.
    and this is a blog..typos occur…like your use of multiple close quotes…
    BTW our deficit this year is between 1.5 and 2 trillion dollars…do you seriously think that means $1.50 to $2,000,000,000,000?
    really?
    why not just admit that you may be incorrect, it would be easier on us all.

  53. Were these “qualified guesses” used when the polar bear was decreed
    threatened? If so, maybe we can rescind it. (Not that the Iniuit cared;
    they have been hunting the bears all along, ignoring threatened status.
    Native peoples understand that if they don’t keep the polar bear population
    down, then “nanuq” as they call the polar bear, will keep the human
    population down.)

  54. The sheer impudence of such behaviour is breathtaking.

    Could it be time for the institution of the “Polar Bear Award” for scientific fraud?

  55. “but simply a qualified guess given to satisfy public demand.”

    Perhaps I shouldn’t point out, as they may be lurking, that the statement is self-incriminating, as it shows they are not scientific.

  56. Gary Pearse, I’m with you. Your ideas appear sound, but I suggest also adding in the concept of a few UAVs (“drones”). They might have to be retooled for the cold temps, and we would need a close base from which to launch and retrieve them. Might not cover all of each region entirely, but better than the SWAG we have.

    You know, this would not be so bad if they just admitted up front how they built the estimates, came clean so to speak… Saying that they only used the populations for which they had values would be fine, but somewhere they really should be providing a table that identifies which region has had what population estimate in what year and also identify if and when methods for generating such estimates change, as well as providing a robust qualification as to the expected reliability of each method.

  57. Polar Bear Population Facts – I’ve posted this before, but it bears repeating! 8D

    Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) – Scare Site

    http://www.nrdc.org/wildlife/cites/polar-bear/files/polar-bear-OV.pdf

    There are 20,000-25,000 polar bears in existence, 15,000 live in Canada.
    32,350 Polar bear specimens (polar bears dead or alive, and their parts and derivatives) were traded internationally for all purposes between 2001 and 2010.
    1. That’s well over 3,000 polar bear specimens per year traded internationally.
    2. Of the 600 polar bears killed in Canada each year, the parts of more than half of them are traded internationally.
    3. From 2007 to 2012, there was a 375% increase in the number of polar bear skins sold.

    International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) – Conservation / CAGW Promotion Site

    http://www.ifaw.org/sites/default/files/default/cites/IFAW_brief-sheet-final-POLAR-BEARx.pdf

    Canada acknowledges that it allows 3.75 percent of its bears to be killed every year, but the maximum rate of population growth for polar bears is between 4-6 percent per year. In healthy, growing populations, an annual hunt quota of 3.75 percent would slow, and possibly even stop, that growth.

    World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) – Conservation / CAGW Promotion Site

    http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/where_we_work/arctic/wildlife/polar_bear/population/

    Several polar bear populations were decimated by unsustainable hunting by European, Russian and American hunters and trappers from the 1600s right through to the mid-1970′s.
    Although most populations have returned to healthy numbers, there are differences between the populations. Some are stable, some seem to be increasing, and some are decreasing due to various pressures.
    As of 2013, 5 of 19 populations were in decline. (Therefore, 14 were increasing or stable.)

    Polar Bears International – Conservation / CAGW Promotion Site

    http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/about-polar-bears/what-scientists-say/are-polar-bear-populations-booming

    One Russian extrapolation presented in 1956 suggested a number of 5,000 to 8,000, but that figure was never accepted by scientists. The fact is that in the 1960s we had no idea how many polar bears there were. … We do know (and I have published papers on this) that some polar bear populations grew after quotas were imposed in Canada, aerial hunting ceased in Alaska, and trapping and hunting were banned in Svalbard. All of these events occurred in the late 60s or early 70s, and we know some populations responded—as you would expect. (How would I expect? Why not just say it?) … But the most important point is that whatever happened in the past is really irrelevant. (If this is the most important point, then what less important points are also irrelevant?)

    International Business Times (IBT) – Anti-CAGW Promotion Site

    http://www.ibtimes.com/polar-bear-population-higher-20th-century-something-fishy-about-extinction-fears-821075

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that the polar bear population is currently at 20,000 to 25,000 bears, up from as low as 5,000-10,000 bears in the 1950s and 1960s. (Similar to Russian extrapolation presented in 1956.) A 2002 U.S. Geological Survey of wildlife in the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain noted that the polar bear populations ‘may now be near historic highs’”

    If the world is actually feeling threatened that polar bears might cease to exist at some future point of time, why are they still being subjected to legal hunting?
    Legal hunting really is the crux of the issue. There are no statistics on the numbers that die each year due to global warming. Are there zero? One? More? How does that compare to “over 3,000 polar bear specimens per year traded internationally” and “From 2007 to 2012, there was a 375% increase in the number of polar bear skins sold”?

    Food for thought…

  58. As far as I can tell, the only geographic areas where they do have numbers are Canada and Alaska. As a canadian it pains me to say that no figures from official canadian sources, on any matter at all to do with climate, are to be trusted. So IMO any figures they have for bear populations are completely worthless.

  59. Well, “guess” certainly sounds better than “pulled the number from whence the sun doesn’t shine”, although the latter would seem to be more accurate.

  60. It is important to realize that this range never has been an estimate of total abundance in a scientific sense, but simply a qualified guess given to satisfy public demand.

    So if there was no public demand would they give us “an estimate of total abundance in a scientific sense”? If not, why not? Why are we funding these people? All these years of ‘study’ and they have no idea, bearing in mind the gaps in coverage. What a load of sh!t.

  61. Evaluation of petitions to list, delist, or reclassify species
    We evaluate whether a petition to list, delist, or reclassify species presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. For this purpose, “substantial scientific or commercial information” refers to information in support of the petition’s claims such that a reasonable person would conclude that the action proposed in the petition may be warranted. Please note that we will not consider conclusions stated in the petition that are not supported by credible scientific or commercial information to be “substantial information.” In making a finding, we consider whether the petition provides the following (50 C.F.R. § 424.14(b)(2)):

    The following information is relevant to our determination as to whether the petition provides substantial information that the petitioned action may be warranted. Therefore, although it is not mandatory, we strongly recommend you include the following information in your petition:
    • A description and map(s) of areas that should be added to or removed from the current designation and the benefits of designating or not designating these specific areas as critical habitat;
    • A description of the physical and biological features essential for the conservation of the species and whether those features may require special management considerations or protection;
    • Within the geographical area occupied by the species at the time it was listed, information indicating that the specific areas petitioned to be added contain the physical or biological features that are essential to the conservation of the species and may require special management considerations or protection;
    • Within the geographical area occupied by the species at the time it was listed, information indicating that the specific areas petitioned to be removed do not contain features, including features that allow the area to support the species periodically, over time, that are essential to the conservation of the species, or that these features do not require special management consideration or protections;
    • Outside the geographical area occupied by the species at the time it was listed, information indicating why the areas petitioned to be added or removed are or are not essential for the conservation of the species.

    All from http://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/petition_guidance_for_internet_final_for_posting_12-7-10.pdf

    Looks to me like a false claim to list the polar bears was made if PBSG’s data was used.

  62. Realize that the ecology community has been fogging the numbers and hiding behind such undisclosed caveats for decades. Consider that when the farm and pest control industries tried in 1972 during the EPA’s DDT hearing to (correctly) demonstrate that contiguous 48-state U.S. bald eagle populations had increased from near zero in 1937 to thousands and that therefore there was no evidence that DDT had at all impacted raptor bird populations (they were all nearly extinct long before DDT was ever used!), the Audubon Society successfully sued to keep that data from being admitted into the hearing testimony or evidence. Why? Because the data from the Christmas Bird Count wasn’t “scientific” despite being the only long-term (100 years +) continuous large-scale estimate. They claimed the apparent increase in bald eagles (most rapid during the peak of DDT use) was merely an artifact of more observers.
    When I tried to demonstrate to our local newspaper that the subjective apparent increase in local raptor birds (especially red tailed hawks) from the 1980s to 2010 was supported by data from the Patuxent National Wildlife Center (US Fish & Wildlife), they and the newspaper hid behind the “non-scientific” moniker to dismiss the notion that these birds weren’t in need of continued endangered and threatened status.

  63. I wish I had known about this two weeks ago. I just helped 3rd grade students through a flipping penny data collection inquiry. The top part of the form was for their “guess”. The bottom part was a chart to record the actual data of flipping a penny 20 times. So according to our esteemed peer-reviewed climate scientists who want all our students to grow up to be just like them, I should have had them stop at the guess. Who knew.

  64. Thirty years from now these mendacious charlatans will have become an object lesson, laughing stocks. Meantime, not one single, solitary consequence will result from decades of big-mouth Climate Deviants ranting this Big Lie.

  65. We should always be sceptical about sources of data. Understanding precisely where data came from and how it was measured is the first step to understanding what it might mean. Miss that step and you’re already on shaky ground as far as analysis goes…

  66. “…the circumpolar polar bear action plan…”
    ————
    Circumpolarbear Vortex!

    Kinda like the Sharknado:

    When a freak circumpolar vortex scoops up polar bears, hilarity ensues as the angry bears are dropped upon the unsuspecting populace.

    Coming soon to a theatre near you!

  67. I think greenies shoud go to the Arctic, for the next ten years, and measure how many of their heads have been ripped from their bodies.

    They can publish a headline, “Unarmed Arctic environmentalist explorers are being killed off in unprecedented numbers by declining populations of polar bears. Greenpeace says their Arctic explorers need to be armed”

  68. Global warming is causing more people to run in mountain lion lairs and get attacked.. Global warming is forcing black bears to enter cities to get food.

  69. Global warming is causing Canada geese to breed in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Old Canada breeding grounds are too warm, so they’ve moved hundreds of miles south to breed to escape the Canadian heat.

  70. Devastating, just devastating.

    If this were an isolated incident, one would conclude, “Well, you know, there may be a few over-eager or sloppy researchers out there, but overall the discipline has integrity.” But when we see this pattern repeated over and over and over again, it undermines the entire credibility of both government-sponsored research as a category and the prestige and respect of the sciences in general.

    What is the message to students and the general public? Science is politics, publicity over probity? Fraud is OK, as long as it’s publicly funded?

  71. “Instead of issuing a press release to clarify matters to the public immediately, Vongraven decided he would let me take care of informing the public that this global estimate may not be what it seems.”

    Because the latter method will reach far fewer people and no one at all via the mainstream media which published the guestimated results in articles with sensational titles.

  72. I get the Problem science and politics, but how is such a disease-virus vaccination arrested? Wait it out, or cut the virus out with a sharp double-bit axe? The vaccine looks like?

    Goldstone Deep Space – Mohave Desert, Ft Irwin NTC ingress-egress new roadway 2005-06 (?) Public Comment requirement conducted in Barstow. Desert Tortoise preservation before the fence but the new road was mostly completed, BLM Dept. of Interior. Room with 50+ chairs, 3 or 4 officials presiding, 5 or 6 citizens, and one rookie-novice reporter (High Desert or Desert Dispatch news media). The reporter noted one citizen speaker with a sweat stained cowboy hat, worn blue denim pants snap-button shirt grizzled face sun baked skin that rose and spoke “it ain’t gona work, this fence” (18 inch high to keep auto’s from smashing the slow walking tortoise). The cowboy continued standing silently. The official waited momentarily and then spoke – “thank you” are there any further comments? The cowboy was still standing and eventually set down. The rookie-novice caught up with the old cowboy outside and, as a good reporter would do, asked ‘what did you mean by ‘it ain’t gona work’, this fence’? Cowboy, ‘Those tortoise turtles have only several natural enemies that do harm. Mostly man (statutory $10,000 fine for harassment- no harm) and Coyote. The fence is man harm, the coyote is food looking-eating. The fence with those under road pipe tunnels-with squeeze shoot’ fencing ever so often, o’l coyote will wait up on a look-out for the next tortoise to come to the tunnel, and then go down and have a meal’. 2011-12 BLM experts have Identified a new problem – coyotes are killing more than the auto ever did (the Tortoise estimate, as it turns out is like the polar bear guess). What should we do asks the experts.

    In my own needs to be using this new fenced roadway never saw any coyotes eating at the tunnels but saw dozens perched on a rock ‘just a wait-in’. Metastatic virus or an allergy?

  73. Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming is happening, right now. I have 50 x 100 ft lots on the seafront of the Arctic in Alaska going for cheap, at $25,000. Prime oceanfront property. One block from the beach only $10,000. Send checks to my cousin in Nigeria, he’s totally honest.

    If you don’t, you’re going to fry. People are already deserting Florida and Arizona for upstate New York and Minnesota, and the smart money is buying Nome Alaska condos in droves. The “Sunbelt” states are already being deserted, and they’re going to have zero populations by 2030. It’s a fact, my computer model proves it. There’s no debate, the science is settled. Every smart investor is putting their money on the seacoasts of Nunavut and Northwestern Territory right now. You don’t have buy this prime real estate for yourself. Buy it for your kids and grandkids.

  74. I’m sorry, I grew up on Mad Magazine when Al Gaines was leading it. Don’t be afraid to use some satire and parody when confronting idiocy. Like Michael Mann vs. Mark Steyn. Mr. Mann, I’m sorry, DOCTOR Mann invented the global warming hockey stick. Did anyone notice it took him 5 years to earn his bachelor’s degree, and 9 years to get his PhD? As opposed to geniuses getting their B.A. in 3 years and their PhD’s in another 4 years? Total 14 years vs. 7 years. In my calculus, those aren’t equivalencies. Also being chosen to be a lead author for an IPCC report before/ just about the time he had earned a PhD. Smells fishy to me.

  75. Ok how many millions upon millions were spent over the decades to “study” the polar bear? Everyday for years going into work,day in day out and now admit they don’t actually know how many polar bears exist? What have you been doing for years and years everyday?

  76. The listing of polar bears as endangered per the US Endangered Species Act was dubious at best. Now the underpinnings for the listing are admitted to be non-scientific guesses. I hope a petition is filed with US Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA to cancel the listing of the polar bear.

  77. On my home town football club blog site, here in Southport (UK), my title is “Good Guesser” and I’m a damn sight better at guessing our match scores than these “scientists” are at guessing polar bear populations. I think I’ll become one and earn a fortune with my skills. I’ll start by guessing that the world is cooling; a much scarier story.

  78. I hear the polar bear argument as an example / reason to worry about climate change quite a bit. I appreciate greatly Dr Crockford’s site for providing accurate, science based information on the topic.

  79. “””””…..davideisenstadt says:

    June 3, 2014 at 4:35 am

    george e. smith says:
    June 2, 2014 at 9:36 pm
    ….well, my inference is certainly more reasonable than your interpretation…
    not that a range of 20k to 25k is that narrow…
    pissiness isnt an admirable trait, you know.
    and this is a blog..typos occur…like your use of multiple close quotes…
    BTW our deficit this year is between 1.5 and 2 trillion dollars…do you seriously think that means $1.50 to $2,000,000,000,000?
    really?
    why not just admit that you may be incorrect, it would be easier on us all……”””””

    Well David; use whatever language you like. But MY open and closing “””””….()…..””””” are NOT typos. I very deliberately put them there, so they are quite intentional.

    I finally got tired or reading tripe on this blog, where people never bother to differentiate between what they are claiming someone else said, and what commentary they themselves were appending too that. Some people italicize, some bolden. Both immediately disappear with cut and paste.

    So I make sure that when I cite some other poster’s words, or even my own, that they are clearly distinguished from what I then add..

    So it may be quite incorrect English grammar proper punctuation. I don’t care. Nobody can ever mistake what I wrote myself, from what someone else wrote that I may excerpt and cite.

    And if you wrote that the deficit was between $1.5T and $2.0T, then I would believe that.

    And if that is “pissiness” to you, then so be it; I really don’t care.

    We will soon have nobody who isn’t writing texting shorthand, and nobody will know what anyone really means any more. That is why we should use proper words, and nomenclature, so that everyone is sure whether we mean Lots Of Luck, or are saying Laughing Out Loud, or maybe something else when we write LOL.

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