Despite climate change, polar bears thrive

Observations: Polar Bears Continue To Thrive, Grow In Number, Shredding Forecasts Of Climate Doom

Ten years ago, polar bears were classified as an endangered species due to model-based assumptions that said the recession of Arctic sea ice would hamper the bears’ seal-hunting capabilities and ultimately lead to starvation and extinction.

The Inuit, who have observed these bears catch seals in open water for generations, disagree.  At least this is what scientists have found upon investigation.

There is no evidence that the fast reduction of sea-ice habitat in the area has yet led to a reduction in population size” (Aars et al., 2017 ).
Inuit observations: “… back in early 80s, and mid 90s, there were hardly any bears … there’s too many polar bears now.  Bears can catch seals even—even if the—if the ice is really thin … they’re great hunters those bears … they’re really smart … they know how to survive” (Wong et al., 2017).


Sometimes the “Western scientific understanding” of how the natural world operates conflicts with observations.

The view of polar bears as effective open-water hunters is not consistent with the Western scientific understanding that bears rely on the sea ice platform for catching prey (Laforest et al., 2018).


The paleoclimate evidence, which shows that sea ice was thinner and less extensive than today for most of the last 10,000 years, also contradicts the assumptions about modern polar bear endangerment due to thinning ice.  One must ask: How did polar bears survive sea ice free summers in the ancient past if they existentially rely on thick sea ice to hunt prey today?

When the observations don’t agree with the models and assumptions, real scientists are supposed to reconsider their hypotheses.

Climate scientists, on the other hand, too often discard the data that conflict with their modeled assumptions and proceed to call those who question their models and assumptions names (i.e., “deniers”).

This begs the question: Why is climate science so much different than real science?

In the 3 new papers referenced below, extensive observational evidence suggests that polar bear populations are currently healthier than in the past, and their numbers have been stable or growing in recent decades.

Full story here at No Tricks Zone

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October 25, 2018 10:17 am

It really is the 3 bears..

Too thin too little….they can’t get on it
Too thick too much…everything dies

..has to be just right all the time

October 25, 2018 10:28 am

Subsistence hunters are a fairly good resource for learning the habits of their prey/competition. As both Inuit and polar bears hunt seals (and each other), and live in the area year round, the Inuit are an obvious source for polar bear numbers and behavior.

John Tillman
Reply to  Tom Halla
October 25, 2018 1:29 pm

Siberian, Alaskan (Yupik and Inupiat) and Western Canadian Eskimos have been hunting polar bears a lot longer than the Inuit of Eastern Canada and Greenland, since Eskimos entered North America from Asia, after the ice sheets melting back to Arctic Ocean coast, thousands of years ago.

The Thule ancestors of today’s Inuit didn’t enter Greenland until 200 to 400 years after the Norse.

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
October 25, 2018 1:40 pm

Of course, the Inuit’s ancestors passed through Alaska en route to Greenland, presumably hunting polar bears as they went, so it’s all good.

Caligula Jones
Reply to  Tom Halla
October 26, 2018 9:21 am

Yes, but the opinion of subsistence hunters (or farmers, or fishermen, or whatever group you want to count) is only good if they agree with the Concensus.

If they disagree, or are even neutral, they are dismissed as being “non-experts”, and replaced by “scientists” who make a big show of heading to the arctic for a week every year (or as long as the funding allows).

Stephen Skinner
October 25, 2018 10:37 am

Did anyone ask the Polar Bears what makes life difficult for them?

Reply to  Stephen Skinner
October 25, 2018 11:20 am

Does anybody give a hoot about the cute little seals that get massacered by these monsters? Oh wait! I forgot. That only applies to the Canadian seal hunt.

Ron Long
Reply to  Trebla
October 25, 2018 12:31 pm

Trebla, they have abandoned eating those oily seals and switched to those tasty humans delivered by the Ship(s) of Fools! What a beauty way to go!

Robert W. Turner
Reply to  Stephen Skinner
October 25, 2018 4:13 pm

As a foolish westerner who last took a biology class in freshman year of college, I would guess that Inuits are the biggest difficulty they face, but they probably fear the orcas a little more.

Reply to  Robert W. Turner
October 25, 2018 9:57 pm

The biggest difficulty polar bears face are other polar bears.

Large male polar bears routinely kill cubs.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  ATheoK
October 26, 2018 3:09 am

That happens in much of the “tribal” animal kingdom, it’s all about securing their liniage, their cubs/offspring MUST be the ones that survive, so kill all male offspring of other males leaving only the females, for breeding with!

Reply to  Stephen Skinner
October 25, 2018 11:57 pm

The problem about polar bears is that when you approach to ask the question they like to rip off your head and then feed on your dead body. Not always in that order.

Carl Friis-Hansen
October 25, 2018 10:38 am

After radical limiting hunting, which was the major issue for the bears, the numbers logically increased. – Really, it is a no-brainier. However, it is heard for the fanatic CAGW’ers to loose their poster icon.

Ian Magness
October 25, 2018 10:40 am

Polar bears, it seems, have passed their sell-by date in the CAGW world. On a recent episode of the BBC’s Autumnwatch wildlife programme – this year from New England – a learned professor from the University of New Hampshire decreed that the moose was now the poster-child of “climate change”. The story was about how rocketing autumn temperatures were allowing the population of winter ticks to decimate the moose population, especially the youngsters. No other possibilities, “climate change” HAD to be responsible.
Needless to say, the science behind the story has been challenged since and indeed the professor didn’t cover himself in glory by referring to the ticks as “insects” at one point.
Nevertheless, we have been told! Polar bears out, moose in to the starring role of CAGW.

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  Ian Magness
October 25, 2018 10:49 am

I will not hope Climate Change, sorry Atmospheric Cancer, will take too many of them here in Sweden. If so, the Elg-hamburgers I enjoy so much, will be too expensive for me.

Reply to  Ian Magness
October 25, 2018 11:39 am

Moose do well until the wolves find them then the wolves wipe them out and over reproduce and die out from starvation with no moose to eat. Then the moose make a come back and the cycle starts again. Been that way for a long, long time. Don’t know about ticks but I figure they don’t eat as much as wolves. Elk in Yellowstone have had their numbers greatly reduced by the government protected wolves there, unless it’s those damn ticks.

Reply to  Ian Magness
October 25, 2018 12:28 pm

Ticks don’t kill an otherwise healthy animal, other than by spreading disease which doesn’t need large numbers of them.

Reply to  Susan
October 25, 2018 12:40 pm

Don’t need to kill them. Just drain enough blood so that they don’t have the strength to outrun the wolves anymore.

Not that there is anything to this nonsense.
Just how much of an advantage does a few tenths of a degree (if that much) give to the ticks anyhow?

Reply to  MarkW
October 25, 2018 1:08 pm


Like anything else in nature, a predator doesn’t wipe out its prey. Ticks are unlikely to kill a healthy Moose by volume alone, and they are unlikely to weaken it enough to outrun a predator. Possible, but unlikely.

Ticks are more likely to affect the ability of an old/sick/young Moose to survive, but in my opinion, and having taken professional advice (I’m so glad my daughter has a BSc in Zoology :)) ticks, or any other parasite, will have as much to lose, as gain, from climate change.

Again, it gets down to the survival of the fittest. Both Moose and Ticks.

Robert MacLellan
Reply to  MarkW
October 25, 2018 1:22 pm

I suggest that it is only indirectly climate change, the ticks are much more common anywhere the white-tail deer are abundant. The white-tails have been extending their range north for more than a century as the climate warmed in the eastern seaboard and human created changes to the landscape created habitat welcoming to them. As an example the earliest modern sighting of white-tails in Nova Scotia was pre WW1, The last sighting of caribou in the wild in Nova Scotia was in the mid 1960s(1965 or 1966?) Concurrent with the expansion of white-tails the moose population in NS dropped. -source- “Deer of Nova Scotia” published by Nova Scotia Dept. of Natural Resources.
The dates and title are from memory as I do not have my copy handy.

John Tillman
Reply to  Robert MacLellan
October 25, 2018 1:30 pm

Whitetail population is also growing in the Western US, and I suppose BC as well.

John Tillman
Reply to  Ian Magness
October 25, 2018 12:46 pm

Don’t try to tell the Dodgers how balmy Boston is in October.

Reply to  Ian Magness
October 25, 2018 12:57 pm

Ian –

In MN, the DNR has been telling citizens that the reason the moose population is declining was not due to wolves, but instead climate change.

In Isle Royal, the moose population has been thriving as the wolf population is declining due to inbreeding.

Smart Rock
Reply to  Derg
October 25, 2018 5:53 pm

Derg – Not sure I believe that bit about the wolves declining. If wolves can cross the Strait of Belle Isle to Newfoundland (which they have, in pursuit of caribou, who also crossed it) they should be able to cross from Isle Royale to the mainland and vice versa. Lake Superior freezes over every few years – and still does despite “climate change”. The distance is a little greater (22 km vs 16 km) but there’s not those wicked tides to worry about.

Perhaps they are just looking at one phase of the predator/prey cycle in a semi-closed environment. Or could it be that Isle Royale is a national park and you can’t hunt there? That ought to do something for the moose population.

Smart Rock
Reply to  Ian Magness
October 25, 2018 5:38 pm

The winter ticks, which seem very much to be on the increase (so it must be climate change, right?) kill the moose because they itch like heck, and the affected moose spends all its time scratching itself on trees, rocks, etc. They can’t sleep, they often don’t bother to eat, and they wear all the fur off the affected areas. Without fur the moose can’t survive the winter; they freeze to death.

I snapped a photo of a moose last year. When I got the photo on the screen, it’s shoulder area was shiny black and obviously without fur. That’s when I started reading about the winter ticks.

I had a conversation with one of those Christians who think that God organized everything and I brought up the winter ticks up as my argument, that if God did organize everything, then he really is a very nasty person. Apparently though, I got it wrong, God’s control isn’t total and there’s the other guy who gets the blame for all the bad stuff.

The God/Satan paradigm is parallel to the warmists’ world-view. Nature is perfect, unchanging, and humans came along and are messing it all up. We, as a species, are inherently evil and everything we do that affects the environment must – by definition – be bad.

Reply to  Smart Rock
October 25, 2018 10:27 pm

“Smart Rock October 25, 2018 at 5:38 pm
The winter ticks, which seem very much to be on the increase (so it must be climate change, right?) kill the moose because they itch like heck, and the affected moose spends all its time scratching itself on trees, rocks, etc. They can’t sleep, they often don’t bother to eat, and they wear all the fur off the affected areas. Without fur the moose can’t survive the winter; they freeze to death.

I snapped a photo of a moose last year. When I got the photo on the screen, it’s shoulder area was shiny black and obviously without fur. That’s when I started reading about the winter ticks.”

” it’s shoulder area was shiny black”, if it was “shiny black”, it wasn’t covered by ticks.

Nor do you identify the time of year. Moose like many wild dwelling mammals shed and regrow their fur, every year.
Animals shedding fur undergo severe itches. far greater itch than ticks cause.

Just as with “climate change”, leaping to conclusions about cause is unreasonable.

Just as with using polar bears for poster propaganda purposes; using moose for poster propaganda requires critical and scary dangers. Enter the creepy crawly and mush despised tick, along with much publicized photos of a “sick” affected moose.

Moose spend a lot of time in water, especially when feeding, traveling or avoiding summer heat. Moose are often deep enough in water for long periods to make life difficult for ticks.

Moose are just one mammal in forests, fields, meadows and swamps full of mammals from shrews up to moose. Ticks may have some preferences for certain animals, but they rarely pass up an opportunity for blood from any animal, including birds, snakes, lizards and tortoises.
Massive numbers of ticks would affect all of these animals, not just moose.

Beware alarmists pointing their fingers at imaginary highly publicized dooms. It’s all about fund raising, not genuine dooms.

Reply to  Smart Rock
October 26, 2018 4:19 am

Smart Rock – “The God/Satan paradigm is parallel to the warmists’ world-view.
Not only that, they reproduce the Old Testament/Christian view that humans are “born bad”. That used to be called Original Sin but now it’s simply breathing that is the sin. We breathe out about 40,000 ppm of Co2 with each exhalation. So just by existing we contaminate God’s creation which was perfect before we breathed on it.

Reply to  Ian Magness
October 26, 2018 10:07 am

If moose are anything like white-tailed deer in the east US, the tick increase is a result of overpopulation. Deer ticks and Lymes disease have increased drastically — I know a number of local people that have had the disease and I too have been bitten by deer ticks, tho got checked & didn’t have the disease (or results suggested may have been exposed only long ago).

October 25, 2018 10:46 am

Yet Polar bears are still one of their poster children. Has there ever been an AGW caused claim realized?

October 25, 2018 11:03 am

I hear that Puffins are the next “canary in the coal mine” for the alarmists. They just move the goal posts and keep claiming the models don’t lie.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  dave
October 25, 2018 12:58 pm
Reply to  John F. Hultquist
October 25, 2018 1:14 pm

Great article… fascinating about the travels of many of the birds.

Neil watson
October 25, 2018 11:07 am
Left wing looney
October 25, 2018 11:17 am

Well if the models don’t agree with reality then of course reality must be wrong. We need to stop thinking about this reality monkey business. /sarc

D. Cohen
October 25, 2018 11:48 am

Maybe the major “enemy” of polar bears — and probably all polar animals — is the intense cold they must live with. Polar bears consume enormous amounts of food to keep from freezing, so warming weather means they need less food and it all balances out, maybe even ends up being a net plus. Consequently, it’s not a problem even if less ice means the seals are more difficult to catch …

Reply to  D. Cohen
October 25, 2018 12:03 pm

D. Cohen,

What you’ve stated is a persistent myth.

Polar bears consume enormous amounts of food to keep from starving to death, not to keep warm.

Most bears are at their leanest at the end of winter (when it is still very cold) and fattest in early summer (when temps are warmer, after the spring feeding frenzy). Most bears eat very little or nothing over the darkest, coldest part of the Arctic winter.

John Tillman
Reply to  Susan Crockford
October 25, 2018 12:09 pm


Please correct me if wrong, but my impression is that sows den up with their cubs and estivate, while boars generally remain active during winter, searching for whatever they can find to eat.

Thus, the ice which matters most to polar bears is landfast in the spring, when they’re hungriest. Females of their ringed seal prey make snow lairs on the shore ice, covering the hole into the water which they scrape open with their claws.

Sea ice floes in summer are a lot less important.

Reply to  Susan Crockford
October 25, 2018 12:42 pm

Don’t bears need to eat more to prevent starvation when it is cold?

Reply to  MarkW
October 25, 2018 1:15 pm


I think that’s what Susan’s illustrating.

Bears eat in the summer, fatten up, then lose weight in the winter.

Were it cold that killed them, no matter how much they ate in the summer would make a difference, they would die of cold.

Their summer feasting makes up for their winter fasting and it doesn’t matter how cold it gets, they will survive unless there is a dramatic extension of winter. Then, the bears won’t die of the cold but starvation.

Basically, bears are immune to the cold (largely) but they need food to live.

D. Cohen
Reply to  HotScot
October 26, 2018 4:46 am

The bears need more energy to stay warm when the weather is colder, and during the winter this energy comes mostly from body fat. So it does matter how cold it gets, because the fat gets used up faster keeping the bears warm enough to survive. If the summer is cold, but the amount of food stays the same, then less fat will be stored up during the summer because more of the food energy will go into keeping the bears warm while they hunt and less will be stored as body fat. Hence bears are thinner after a cold winter, or after an average winter preceeded by a cold summer, and those without enough fat — that is, those who did not eat enough before food becomes hard to find — will starve. You would expect, all other things being the same, that more bears would starve during a cold arctic winter — or during an average winter preceeded by a cold summer.

D. Cohen
Reply to  Susan Crockford
October 26, 2018 4:21 am

The colder it is during the winter, the sooner they use up the fat they stored when food was plentiful and the more quickly they starve. Their fat at the beginning of the arctic winter will keep them alive longer during a warm arctic winter than during a cold one (unless, of course, they get lucky and find a good source of winter food). Warmer average weather over the entire seasonal cycle means they need, on average, to eat less food all during that year to stay alive — even if they eat much of the year’s food during the spring and summer, store it as body fat, and then burn that body fat during the winter to stay alive.

Thomas Homer
Reply to  Susan Crockford
October 26, 2018 5:08 am

Susan Crockford: “Most bears eat very little or nothing over the darkest, coldest part of the Arctic winter”

Precisely, and yet the bears continue to breathe throughout this time. They breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. Since the bears are not eating, the carbon they are exhaling is drawn from their own body mass. That’s why they are their leanest at the end of winter, they have consumed their own store of carbon and must replace it.

Atmospheric CO2 supplies the carbon the bears need. The carbon is extracted from CO2 via photosynthesis. Yet ice does not support photosynthesis, so there is little land based vegetation and the bears must turn to the marine food chain where phytoplankton extract carbon from CO2.

More atmospheric CO2 supports a more robust food chain, as reflected by the flourishing apex predator Polar Bear population.

Joel Snider
October 25, 2018 12:17 pm

Imagine – an animal built to rough it in the polar waste thriving.

John F. Hultquist
October 25, 2018 12:45 pm

I just posted the following at NTZ.

Nice summary of:

“The old aerial polar bear hunt in Alaska”

From the late 1940s until the early 1970s

October 25, 2018 12:45 pm

High pressure above southern Greenland.
comment image

October 25, 2018 1:18 pm

Some of the excess polar bears should be sent to Antarctica where they can eat a few of the excessive penguins.

Reply to  Roger
October 25, 2018 1:22 pm


You’re telling me the IPCC offices are in Antarctica?

October 25, 2018 1:59 pm

Don’t you people realise that these polar bears are secretly controlled by Putin’s army of trolls?
The Russian Spy organisation (NKVD?) has implanted electrodes in the bears and when “observers” appear or prepare to study them, bears from neighbouring areas are FORCED to travel to where the “scientists” are.
Then when they move on, the bears are moved on too to the next observation post, thus fooling the observers into false measurements.
They are doing this to sow discord in the public conversation about Global Warming and so weaken the US defence against Communism’s redistribution of US wealth.
Wake up!

John Tillman
Reply to  jon
October 25, 2018 2:07 pm

Today that would be the job of the Foreign Intelligence Service, SVR (Слу́жба вне́шней разве́дки), or possibly military Main Intelligence Directorate, GRU (Гла́вное разве́дывательное управле́ние).

October 25, 2018 3:07 pm

For those of us living in the CONUS (contiguous United States), it might be shocking to see the lack of radar coverage in Alaska, it was to me anyway….

October 25, 2018 4:59 pm

The thought process is a still a little backwards after all these years. The seals go out on the ice to avoid their pups being easy pickin’s for the bears, and also easier fishin’ for baby food. The bears would rather lunch on those seal pups right on dry land and the bears are very supportive of any efforts to help global warming that would cause less pack ice, so they refuse to attend CO2 reduction rallies in Los Angeles. Since both bears and seals have been around for thousands of years, it is not likely our present lack of glaciers is going to be a big deal and even the seals prefer thin floating ice to the glaciers that their climate specialists tell them are coming in a few generations…..

Hokey Schtick
October 25, 2018 6:39 pm

Barbara Streisand, please phone home.

Evan Jones
October 25, 2018 10:37 pm

Peebs survived the Eocene.

Case Closed.

October 26, 2018 12:14 am

The only real threat to polar bears is lead from human rifles .
I thought the new mascot of the Climate con-men are those adorable penguins down under .
Of course there are more penguins in Antarctic than people so they don’t have to worry about
actual counts to disprove the falsehoods .
If polar bears really needed and yearned for ice why aren’t they in Antarctica ? Maybe because seals are smart enough to stay the hell away from an ice continent bigger than the USA .

Now when was the Arctic supposed to be ice free ? I am waiting to book a cruise .

October 26, 2018 4:10 am

On the subject of critters that live in cold places , ABC the Billion dollar Oz Govt broadcaster is obviously spending tax payers dollars on only the hardest hitting stories they can make up .

Johann Wundersamer
October 27, 2018 3:52 am

“This is the question, why is climate science so much different than real science?”

Let’s see.

99.99% of the world population has no Arctic Ice pools in the backyard. So they do not get any hands-on experience with polar bears in the Arctic Ice and need to listen to experts.

– if

99.99% of the worlds population had an Arctic lce pool in the backyard

– then

they would have practical experience with polar bears in the Arctic Ice and would kick experts asses.

Mike Macray
October 28, 2018 9:06 am

I suspect that much of the speculation about the survival of polar bears is moot. They are likely adapting to their new role as garbage recyclers for the rapidly growing Eskimo waste stream… Down here in Florida one of their Brown bear cousins has already been spotted dragging a garbage bin across the golf course to better investigate its contents. How it got onto this barrier island is a matter of vigorous dabate, the current theory is that it hitch hiked on one of the garbage trucks that haul our copious contribution to the landfill.

November 1, 2018 5:21 am

But, but, but, they showed me a picture of one starving Polar bear? Of course, on explanation, like age, injury or disease, just one picture of one skinny bear.

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