Guest essay by Eric Worrall
[addition h/t to users: Cam_S, Neo, and Fraizer, who all called attention to the this story ~ctm]
h/t Howard “Cork” Hayden; Inuit communities are increasingly alarmed at surging populations of polar bears posing a risk to public safety, and have advanced plans to kill more polar bears to mitigate the risk to their people.
‘So many bears:’ Draft plan says Nunavut polar bear numbers unsafe
Bob Weber, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, November 12, 2018 4:11AM EST
Last Updated Monday, November 12, 2018 1:06PM EST
There are too many polar bears in parts of Nunavut and climate change hasn’t yet affected any of them, says a draft management plan from the territorial government that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking.
The proposed plan — which is to go to public hearings in Iqaluit on Tuesday — says that growing bear numbers are increasingly jeopardizing public safety and it’s time Inuit knowledge drove management policy.
“Inuit believe there are now so many bears that public safety has become a major concern,” says the document, the result of four years of study and public consultation.
“Public safety concerns, combined with the effects of polar bears on other species, suggest that in many Nunavut communities, the polar bear may have exceeded the co-existence threshold.”
The proposed plan downplays one of the scientific community’s main concerns.
“Although there is growing scientific evidence linking the impacts of climate change to reduced body condition of bears and projections of population declines, no declines have currently been attributed to climate change,” it says. “(Inuit knowledge) acknowledges that polar bears are exposed to the effects of climate change, but suggests that they are adaptable.”
Andrew Derocher, a University of Alberta polar bear expert, is blunter.
“That’s just plain wrong,” he said. “That’s been documented in many places now — not just linked to body condition but reproductive rates and survival.”
Pond Inlet wants to be able to kill any bear within a kilometre of the community without the animal being considered part of the town’s quota. Rankin Inlet simply wants to lower bear populations.
In its submission, the Kitikmeot Regional Wildlife Board expresses frustration with how polar bears are used as an icon in the fight against climate change.
“This is very frustrating for Inuit to watch … We do not have resources to touch bases with movie actors, singers and songwriters who often narrate and provide these messages,” it says.
“We know what we are doing and western science and modelling has become too dominant.”
Who do you think is more believable? Native communities at the sharp end of Polar Bear attacks, or comfortable city based climate modellers who tell us the natives are “plain wrong” about polar bear numbers surging, about polar bears overrunning their communities?