Ten Good Reasons Not To Worry About Polar Bears

Polar Bear-Cubs-Canada_WallpaperSusan Crockford writes: This year marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of an international agreement to protect polar bears from commercial and unregulated sport hunting. The devastating decades of uncontrolled slaughter across the Arctic, including the Bering Sea, finally came to an end. And so in honour of the International Polar Bear Day (27 February) – and because some activists are calling 2013 The Year of the Polar Bear– I have made a summary of reasons not to worry about polar bears, with links to supporting data. I hope you find it a useful resource for tuning out the cries of doom and gloom about the future of polar bears and celebrating their current success.

1) Polar bears are a conservation success story

Their numbers have rebounded remarkably since 1973 and we can say for sure that there are more polar bears now than there were 40 years ago. Although we cannot state the precise amount that populations have increased (which is true for many species – counts are usually undertaken only after a major decline is noticeable), polar bears join a long list of other marine mammals whose populations rebounded spectacularly after unregulated hunting stopped: sea otters, all eight species of fur seals, walrus, both species of elephant seal, and whales of all kinds (including grey, right, bowhead, humpback, sei, fin, blue and sperm whales). Once surveys have been completed for the four sub-populations of polar bears whose numbers are currently listed as zero, the total world population will almost certainly rise to well above the current official estimate of 20,000-25,000 (perhaps to 27,000-32,000?).

Full report (PDF)

see also – Matt Ridley: We should be listening to Susan Crockford

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May 18, 2014 1:12 pm

I understand from my friends at the Natural History Museum the polar bears are at greatest risk fro m u/v light causing cataracts.

May 18, 2014 1:13 pm

counts are usually undertaken only after ……. it’s discovered there’s money to be made
I can remember when it was all about saving the baby fur seals….

May 18, 2014 2:09 pm


Andrew Hamilton
May 18, 2014 2:22 pm

Mick Greenhough: hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
That’s a thigh slapper.

May 18, 2014 2:40 pm

I’m not sure the seals are happy with this turn of events.

Bruce Cobb
May 18, 2014 2:51 pm

I don’t know about cataracts, but many are becoming diabetic from all the Coke they consume.

Gerry Parker
May 18, 2014 3:21 pm

It’s OK, I wasn’t worried… (someone had to say it)

May 18, 2014 4:16 pm

I certainly wasn’t worried. Polar bears are not much of a threat here. It’s years since they ate anyone in Brisbane.

May 18, 2014 4:46 pm

Don’t tell Gov Jerry Brown. It would ruin his day.

Alan Robertson
May 18, 2014 5:12 pm

As long as all of those extra whales don’t eat too much of the squid harvest, we’re good.
Mmmm, squid!

May 18, 2014 6:32 pm

Polar Goretex

May 18, 2014 6:34 pm

Top 1 reason to worry about polar bears:
1: They will kill you and eat you.

Bennett In Vermont
May 18, 2014 6:42 pm

Alan wrote “Mmmm, squid!”
I was thinking of making a reference to squid becoming extinct and then being made of people, but then I stopped and realized the more poignant truth, Solient Green, was indeed, green.

May 18, 2014 8:57 pm

27,000-32,000 is virtually extinct and we do need to protect them and grow their numbers, our duty as vice regents of the planet. But I don’t think that my car is killing them.

May 18, 2014 10:16 pm

When I was in the arctic photographing the beasts, I had a chance to talk with some of the top bear experts in the world. On multiple occasions while at dinner with one said bear expert, the group (excluding me) of Orange County yuppies I was with were very surprised at the response to various global warming questions. Very funny to see the look on the faces of the ecofreak Orange County folks. They were so emotionally upset because they didn’t want to believe that facts laid out before them by the bear experts.
The bears will thrive if the ice caps melt. More sheet ice = more seals which in turn means more bears.

Doug Proctor
May 18, 2014 10:17 pm

The hunting of polar bears by American soldiers at Churchill was very well known. When the base was closed in the 70s, and the garbage dump was closed later, the bears stopped getting shot. Further north, the licencing costs of 30 to 50 grand for a polar bear tag keeps out the non-very-serious-and-rich hunters. Of course numbers has risen.
The eco-green has seized on all sorts of simple reasons for population decline in favour of those useful to the agenda. Some of these are now working against them, but as the eco-green is concerned about results and not means, there is no embarrassment. The noble cause excuses all.

May 19, 2014 1:27 am

Col Mosby says:
May 18, 2014 at 2:40 pm
I’m not sure the seals are happy with this turn of events.

In this case they could declare open season on polar bears.
Hey, it’s not an issue of life balance or climate at all, never was.
It’s the human constraint to stand above nature like gods and to control everything and make money from (sh)it. Each stupid reason is welcome, as the case may be.

Leonard Jones
May 19, 2014 3:16 pm

As a non-scientist, I have a few opinions on this story. I used to do a lot of
target shooting at place in San Bernardio called Lytle Creek. I was never into
hunting but I read a lot on the subject.
Attempts to protect predator species always has a negative impact on the species
they prey on. Disney does a movie that challenges theories about Canadian
Wolves. They are depicted as warm and fuzzy creatures that would never
attack humans and Caribou. By protecting these animals, more of them have
to compete for fewer resources. If they get hungry enough a wold pack will attack
larger game.
Florida banned shark hunting, which was like ringing the dinner bell. The population
grew and more attacks occurred. The feds banned hunting Polar Bears. The residents
of Alaska began putting spikes on their porches to drive them back into the wild.
Even when you want to help a prey, the idea can have unintended consequences.
Someone dropped bales of hay into the mountains to help deer through the Winter.
Too many survived Winter Kill only to starve later.
Go back 100 years, and the government had sensible approaches to game management.
Set reasonable limits for hunting game and allow Winter Kill to thin the herd. As for Polar
Bears, they are super-duper apex predators. They probably never existed in the millions
like Buffalo.

May 19, 2014 8:58 pm

I’m still waiting for when they have one of thoseincredibly urgent, end of the world, climate meetings in February, outdoors in beautiful downtown Churchill Manitoba. They will find out it’s still cold in Winter and they can feed to Polar bears, personally.

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