No, climate change hasn’t driven polar bears to take over a Russian town

Dr. Susan Crockford writes:

The MSM have gone mad for this story today. I wrote up a post yesterday debunking the AGW claim.

Polar bears have been terrorizing a Russian town on the Barents Sea since December

Since early December, a group of 52 polar bears have terrorized the Russian village of Belushaya Guba on southern Novaya Zemlya. The aggressiveness of some of the bears, their boldness in entering local buildings and fearlessness in the face of the usual deterrents has caused the local government to call a state of emergency to help the town residents.

Global warming is blamed for the problem but as is so often the case, that claim does not stand up to scrutiny.

Belushaya Guba garbage dump_Daily Mail_11 Feb 2019

Large group of polar bears at the Belushya Guba town dump on Novaya Zemlya, Russia. From the 11 Feb. 2019 story at The Daily Mail.

Belushaya Guba is located on the southwest coast of Novaya Zemlya in the eastern Barents Sea. It is a town of mostly military personnel and their families:

Belushya_Guba_on_map_of_Novaya_Zemlya_SM wikipedia

The predictable claims that this situation is due to global warming are confounded by the fact that the region has not had abundant sea ice by December in more than 30 years, yet this is the first time the town has had such a problem with polar bears. Polar bears in winter can be very dangerous, as they are often lean and desperately hungry. [except these ones are not, see update below]

UPDATE 11 February 2019: The international media have gone mad for this story and some photos are now available. Best series of photos and video is at The Daily Mail, UK (11 Feb 2019: State of emergency is declared after more than 50 polar bears invade Russian town and ‘chase terrified residents’). No new information is available on the story itself but plenty of hyperbole has been added. The photos show how fat and healthy these so-called ‘desperate’ bears are, which makes the claims that global warming is to blame for the crisis even more ludicrous (see the ice charts below). So far, the most over-the-top take on this goes to the Washington Post (11 Feb 2019: A ‘mass invasion’ of polar bears is terrorizing an island town. Climate change is to blame): they went to the most trouble to make the link to climate change and bring up the vilified ‘starving polar bear’ video that National Geographic was forced to apologize for last August and the debunked 2007 prediction that 2/3 of the world’s bears would be gone by 2050 (Crockford 2017). The Guardian‘s effort is weak by comparison, as is CNN‘s. The news outlet (not a blog) Daily Caller has some quotes from this page. Competition amongst bears for scarce natural resources in winter makes dump sites and stored food available around Arctic communities all the more attractive. When polar bear numbers are high, as they are now, this competition can get fierce. It’s no wonder the bears don’t want to leave.

The Barents Observer (9 February 2019) had the most detailed report on the so-called ‘invasion’ (which seems to have come without photos of the bears involved):

“From December 2018 to February 2019 a large group of polar bears have stayed around the settlement. There are 52 polar bears inside the territory of the village,” says Deputy Head of the municipal administration of Belushaya Guba, Aleksandr Minaev, in a statement posted by the press-service of Arkhangelsk Oblast.

Minaev says some of the bears are aggressive and have entered residential- and office buildings.

“People are scared, afraid to leave their houses. Their daily activities are disrupted, parents are afraid to let the children go to school and kindergarten,” Aleksandr Minaev, explains.

So far, Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources has refused to permit shooting the most aggressive polar bears that have attacked people. Polar bears are on the Red List and have been protected in the Russian Arctic since 1956.”

….

Ice-map provided for the area by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute’s Ice Service from Friday shows how the Kara Sea off the east coast of Novaya Zemlya are packed with very close drift ice, while there are mostly very open drift ice and open water along the west coast where Belushaya Guba is located.

The experts now on their way to Belushaya Guba hope to find ways to scare away the bears from the settlement. However, if nothing else works to resolve the situation, shooting animals may become the only and necessary measure to ensure safety, the statement from Arkhangelsk authorities reads.

Zhigansha Musin is head of the municipal administration on Novaya Zemlya. He has been in town since 1983 and says he has never before seen such massive invasion of polar bears.”

Read the rest here. A BBC account here leaves out many pertinent details. The Straits Times report out of Moscow (9 February 2019, Aggressive bears ‘invading’ Russian Arctic archipelago) adds this detail not included in the report in the Barents Observer, which suggests the problem is more wide-spread than just this one town:

“In January, a defence ministry official said that hundreds of disused military buildings had been demolished on Novaya Zemlya because polar bears were settling inside them.”

Note that the report does not mention the body condition of the bears involved. They are not reported as starving or skinny but I think we can presume that they are definitely hungry, as are all bears at this time of year.

SEA ICE CONDITIONS FOR SOUTHWEST NOVAYA ZEMLYA

According to Wikipedia:

“Belushya Guba is located in a deep bay with the same name, within a geographical area that is influenced by warm ocean currents. The natural conditions allow year-round sailing of all types and classes of vessels with minimal cost for icebreaking support. The bay is well protected from high surf and drifting ice.”

Therefore, Belushya Guba on southwest Novaya Zemlya is influenced by the same warm currents that have kept western Svalbard free from winter ice since the early 1980s. The ice chart below is for 7 December 2005 (the earliest year available from the Norwegian Ice Service):

Barents Sea ice 2005 Dec 7_NIS archive

The last year that I could find an ice chart showing ice on the west coast of Novaya Zemlya as early as the first week of December was the average November chart for 1982 (NSIDC), when there would also have been ice on the west coast of Svalbard:

November average 1982 NSIDC archive

Not coincidentally, the fellow quoted in the Barents Observer story who said he had been in the town of Belushaya Guba since 1983 (the year after the conditions shown above), claimed he had “never before seen such massive invasion of polar bears.

So, this winter in Belushaya Guba was different from the many ice-free winters that went before.

Here is the current ice chart for the region, from the NIS, for 8 February (2019):

Barents Sea ice extent 2019 Feb 8_NIS

Last year (2018), there was even less ice at this point in the month (9 February):

Barents Sea ice extent 2018 Feb 9_NIS

However, February ice charts that tell us little about why this year, bears ended up on the west coast in winter, when they should be out on the sea ice hunting for seals. Since the problems in Belushaya Guba started in early December 2018, let’s look at the ice conditions around that time:

Barents Sea ice extent 2018 Nov 30_NIS

By late November, there was actually enough ice for any bears that had spent the summer on southeastern Novaya Zemlya to return to the ice and resume hunting. However, it also would have allowed any bears who had been on the sea ice to come ashore, if they so desired. However, by mid-December (see below), the mobile pack ice temporarily contracted, which would have stranded any bears left onshore:

Barents Sea ice extent 2018 Dec 18_NIS

By late January (see below), the ice was back on the southeast coast (close enough for determined bears to walk there) but by then, it is likely the bears in Belushaya Guba were entrenched. They knew there was some food around and no one was shooting at them. Don’t forget that January through early March are lean times for polar bears: seals are very hard to catch during the winter throughout the Arctic and most bears are at their lowest weight of the year by the time seal pups are born (Crockford 2017).

Barents Sea ice extent 2019 Jan 23_NIS

BARENTS SEA BEARS ARE THRIVING

According to recent research results, despite low ice cover since 2016, the population of polar bears around Svalbard and presumably in the Barents Sea as a whole are still increasing, as they recover from decades of over-hunting in the 19th and 20th centuries (Aars 2018; Aars et al. 2009, 2017; Crockford 2017).

This incident of winter problems with polar bears and others like itreported from the Russian Arctic, almost certainly reflect the confluence of a growing human presence in the Arctic and thriving polar bear populations, not lack of sea ice due to global warming.

Recall that explorer William Barents and his crew, who became stranded on the shore of northeast Novaya Zemlya over the winter of 1596-1597, had endless problems with polar bears (back when polar bears and sea ice were really abundant). That story provides an important perspective on this year’s troubles.


Republished with permission of the author, originally published at https://polarbearscience.com

REFERENCES

Aars, J. 2018. Population changes in polar bears: protected, but quickly losing habitat. Fram Forum Newsletter 2018. Fram Centre, Tromso. Download pdf here (32 mb).

Aars, J., Marques, T.A., Buckland, S.T., Andersen, M., Belikov, S., Boltunov, A., et al. 2009. Estimating the Barents Sea polar bear subpopulation. Marine Mammal Science 25: 35-52.

Aars, J., Marques,T.A, Lone, K., Anderson, M., Wiig, Ø., Fløystad, I.M.B., Hagen, S.B. and Buckland, S.T. 2017. The number and distribution of polar bears in the western Barents Sea. Polar Research36:1. 1374125. doi:10.1080/17518369.2017.1374125

Crockford, S. 2017. Testing the hypothesis that routine sea ice coverage of 3-5 mkm2 results in a greater than 30% decline in population size of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). PeerJ Preprints 2 March 2017. https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.2737v3

 

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133 thoughts on “No, climate change hasn’t driven polar bears to take over a Russian town

    • Sharpened whalebone, bent in a small coil, covered with meat and left outside to freeze will be swallowed whole by a hungry bear on your trail. Ingenious survival solution by stone age hunters, but probably not allowed to mention in PC culture.

  1. Okay, I didn’t read the entire article, but I think I get the gist:

    Polar bears are thriving.
    Competition for food is a never-ending struggle in the wild kingdom.
    Humans create garbage dumps with food scraps during times of thriving populations undergoing the usual food competition, in a nearby vicinity of the thriving populations.
    Members of thriving polar-bear population sniff out human-garbage-dump food and have a feast.
    Stupid humans act like something abnormal is going on, blame global warming, and create fake-scare, infotainment non-news stories.

    • You didn’t do that right. It should be like this:

      1. Polar bears are thriving.
      2. Competition for food is a never-ending struggle in the wild kingdom.
      3. Humans create garbage dumps with food scraps during times of thriving populations undergoing the usual food competition, in a nearby vicinity of the thriving populations.
      4. Members of thriving polar-bear population sniff out human-garbage-dump food and have a feast.
      5. ?
      6 GLOBAL WARMING!

        • Duh, butt wee thaught poler bares wer dyin’ off — whoduh thunk the starvin’ onz wood eet food in thugh trash?

          See, even if you thought they were starving and dying off, you’re still an idiot for not realizing that starving animals seek out any food available. The fact is, dear ignoramus, those bears look pretty plump, even while hungry, AND you still put out MORE food for them!

          NOTE: It does not take a genius to realize the lack of wisdom here.

      • A conversation with my wife last summer:

        “Steve, there’s another chipmunk in the garage!”
        “Do you remember that day you left the cupboard to the bird food open and chippies came to have a feast?”
        “Yeah, I remember.”
        “So do they.”

    • Garbage dumps are a big problem. All garbage should be burned. Once a polar bear has had a taste of garbage that bear is very hard to get rid of.

      The fact that polar bears are attracted to the town dump means somebody isn’t doing their job.

      • But, but, ….. that is the only way to dispose of their garbage, put it ON the dump for the Polar Bears to eat. They can‘t throw it in the water or bury it …… when everything is frozen solid.

        The ONLY problem they have is that there is far too many PB’s that have showed up for “dinner” this year. 8 or 12 would be just fine, …….. but not 50.

        • Yea, they are coming to the doors to complain about the buffet! “Yo, dude?!? Do these look like the actions of a bear who has had all he can eat?!?!?”

    • Well stocked garbage dumps in polar regions is abnormal.
      Polar bears (or any scavenger) seeking easy pickings is not abnormal.

  2. I see two possible solutions to the problem. 1) separate the edible garbage from the rest and dispose of it several tens of miles from the settlements; 2) use what appear to be abundant wooden crates in the dump to burn the edible garbage, which is probably the better solution.

  3. they are starving – due to global warming

    (or maybe an overpopulation problem – which happens in most every animal species in cycles – totally unrelated to global warming – but we can still blame AGW)

  4. Considering how the entire intent of this site is that, “It’s never climate change” I’m fairly certain this piece like so many here is a product of confirmation bias not real science.

    In the real world ice volume and extent across the Arctic has seen a dramatic decrease as has been well measured and can be seen as clear trend.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xh3oakgxZ9w

    There’s no way that this will not have a significant impact on a species that is so reliant on the ice for its survival. Whether in removing the ice needed to for Polar Bears to hunt from or from removing key species in the food chain that support the prey they depend on.

    In the realativity of wrong, once again WUWT proves it goes for the worst not best explanation it can when it comes to climate science.

    • In the real world ice volume and extent across the Arctic has seen a dramatic decrease as has been well measured and can be seen as clear trend.

      1000 years ago there was even less. I blame your SUV. Why not take the lead and remove yourself from the food chain. Trust the rest of the planet, we don’t know who you are and don’t need you.

      • Ursis Maritimus as a species goes back some 50,000 years. I wonder how it survived the Holocene Optimum, when the Arctic ice did very nearly disappear? What do you think, Doug Coombes?

        • Well, actually I researched this subtopic at length for the Polar Bear essay in ebook Blowing Smoke. The DNA studies keep taking the polar/grizzly split back in time: first 600000 years based on mitrochondrial dna and now almost 6 million years based on whole genomes.
          Trouble with all DNA studies is, polars and grizzlys (Alaskan brown bears) can still interbreed and produce fertile offspring (pizzlies and growlers, depending on parenting—and the Inuit language contains the same word jokes, proving not a new observation. So messes up all Polar bear DNA studies, because depends on the lineage of the specific individual.

          • Rud

            Seems to me all bears have an evolutionary advantage.

            They are at the top of the food chain, they are big, fast and aggressive.
            They gorge themselves in summer, and survive winters with little to no food.
            They can survive extreme cold thanks to their fat and can moult in hotter weather to survive heat.
            They are mostly omnivores and will eat anything, much like humans.
            They can interbreed, irrespective of colour, much like humans.
            The females are protective of their cubs whilst the males just want to eat and f*ck, much like humans.
            They are opportunists and not fussy about rummaging around in garbage, much like humans.
            They can swim, much like humans.
            They don’t do politics, unlike humans.
            The last point alone means they will probably outlive the human race.

          • Somewhere I heard that there is a metabolic pathway in hibernating bears that turns urea into a useful protein so that their muscle tissues are not metabolized after their fat tissues are gone.

      • Yes, Revolution, we do need him. Dissenting opinions, arguments, contestable “facts” and actual countervailing facts (the kind we tend not to be too enthusiastic about) should be very welcome, as they help us to edge our way to more defensible positions, and maybe eventually towards sound conclusions that we can all agree on. If the only people who are welcome here are those with the same opinions as the residents then we lose that benefit, and equally important: the site loses all credibility eventually. Yeah, it’s broken record stuff.

        My own tuppenceworth: Polar bears don’t talk, write, blog, do morse, semaphore etc, and even if they did, could we be sure that they were identifying their motives accurately? We can speculate all we like, but we don’t know for sure. What we have are Polar bears scavenging on human waste and a bunch of competing explanations, none of which really add to the quest to understand why the planet is currently warming very gradually, though if that warming trend persists long enough it will bring about challenging consequences in time, in the form of rising sea levels as glaciers melt, though there’s no reason why homo sapiens (if we’re sapient enough still) can’t adapt to rising seas. Many threats are also opportunities. Large scale problems of the kind that rising seas will pose aren’t guaranteed to bring out the worst in humankind.

        I think most commenters and lurkers on here accept that the ice extent at the top, bottom and various other places on the globe is currently static or in retreat thanks to slowly increasing amounts of heat. Exactly why there’s more heat, is the contentious issue, and it’s essential that explanations that challenge the CO2 thesis are clear, reasonable and well evidenced. Emotional responses, from any side of the debate, that are sparked by fear, panic, or contempt, or arrogance etc only confuse and antagonise, and get in the way of the search for a fuller understanding and appropriate solutions – though only the future will provide us with “truth”, though whether we recognise it or not will be another issue to confront, many years from now. Some day we’ll be much better placed to understand what is happening here and now. Until that time arrives we’d be well advised to keep our minds open and to avoid allowing the ditches between the competing views and those who hold them to run too deep. People should be able to cross over, and they should be able to work together, no matter how opposed their opinions.

        Finally: Doug’s point, that receding ice will surely have consequences for Polar bears seems eminently reasonable. To agree with it doesn’t mean you have to accept that human produced CO2 is the culprit. Again, if any of us want to argue that CO2 isn’t to blame for the warmth that is melting more ice, then it would be helpful if we did it reasonably and civilly with trenchant arguments and solid evidence. All else barely qualifies as havering. The bears deserve better!

        • Och . .ambiguities and the ongoing battle with the recalcitrant comma . .You know what I mean! The bears aren’t scavenging on competing explanations. There’s too little nourishment in any of them to satisfy!!

    • No Doug –

      The purpose of this site is to seek out the truth and to combat disinformation (from wherever it may come).

      I reckon if the polar bears could survive the early Holocene warmth (including multiple arctic melt events in the interim), they shouldn’t be particularly threatened by the rebound from the depths of the Little Ice Age which is now being experienced.

      You need to inform yourself – go back prior to 1979 regarding arctic sea ice extent. You might learn something!

    • Suggest you avail yourself of the link (RH side of page ) to Susan Crockford ,Polar Bear SCIENCE .
      Or are you just trying to troll ?

    • On the other hand, Susan Crockford is an actual polar bear scientist. And you’re what? A troll who doesn’t like WUWT?

      Really?

    • In the REAL real world ice extent/volume has not declined for 12 years.

      Polar bears are not reliant on ice for survival, if you had a clue about the warmth/ice levels in the Artic at times over the last 11k years, you would know that.

      I found a book from 1922 describing bears invading these islands which occurred ‘when the sea ice got close enough’ – i.e. the presence of an ice bridge (100% this year) lets them arrive – not a lack of ice! And of course hunting was rife until relatively recently. So now there is a population boom and a lost fear of humans. There are too many bears here, just as in the areas where the Inuits are finding similar problems.

      The bears have found a food source in the human waste – why would they move on?

      The same as if they found a whale carcass – they will swarm about until it is exhausted.

      That is the obvious and scientific explanation, not the MSM climate change propaganda fake news one.

    • “..a product of confirmation bias..”

      “There’s no way that this will not have a significant impact..”

      You have way too much irony in your diet

    • The fact that we can actually document that it’s never Global Warming is less important to Doug than the fact that we are disputing the words of the Global Warming gods.

      BTW, Doug doesn’t let anything as trivial as reality interfere with his belief that whatever the problem, it’s caused by CO2.
      In the actual real world, as opposed to the real world that only exists inside models, Arctic ice goes through a 60 year cycle. For the last 30-40 years, ice has been going down. For decades prior to that, ice levels had been going up, but Doug only wants to talk about about the data that supports his religious convictions.

    • its ALWAYS weather and the climate changing to a warmer climate (from an ice age) is never disputed here … troll … what is disputed in AGW … funny how you never mention what you mean by climate change … and there are no worst vs best explanations in science … there are theories, to be proven or disproven … and the thing you hate is that they are disproven here … time and time and time again …

      • mike b, …… didn’t you mean ……. “causes problems for the pregnant seals”?

        If the pregnant seals can’t get thru the thick sea ice …… then they can’t birth their pups underneath the snowpack …… and then the PB’s can’t “sniff” them out thru the snow and eat um for dinner.

    • How is “healthy, growing population of opportunistic feeders discover handy food source” a WORSE explanation than “starving, desperate victims of global warming resort to feeding on garbage”?

      You know, the polar bears don’t know from “climate change.” They only know what IS, and don’t notice a +0.2 +/- 0.08C change in the global temperature anomaly. They DO notice a whole bunch of handy, tasty leftovers and little hairless bears that are crunchy and good, though a little hard to catch.

    • “In the realativity of wrong, once again WUWT proves it goes for the worst not best explanation”

      Doug, very simple…..if you put food out you will attract wild animals

      that’s all………….

        • Starbucks?

          Not fresh water. They’re drinking coffee now.

          Caffeine-fueled polar bears are a much more serious problem than Climate Change.

          • Are you sure? I have a vivid memory of their drinking Cokes (which also have a lot of caffeine) on TV. Cute little buggers, they were.

          • So… you watched those documentaries too?

            Yeah, they used to drink Coke but then when Starbucks started popping up everywhere, what polar bear can resist a Caramel Latte Grande with double espresso shot?

    • Doug, you have a very myopic views on how the world is. Even so, those views are seriously distorted.

      The Artic ice has seen dramatic decreases many times in the past, as pointed out by others. The polar bears did fine. Polar bears are omnivores; they don’t rely solely on fish. The polar bear populations have risen in the past three decades, or so, despite your beliefs that climate change is worsening their environments. The increase started right after hunting tegulations went into effect. Go figure.

      Now consider the ice melt. If you look at the data, you’ll see that there’s plenty of ice in winter. So sometime between summers, in both the Spring and Fall, are the exact same conditions that existed in mid-summers before any of your fears began. Even if the bears required a precise amount of ice to feed, which they absolutely do not, they have those conditions for a substantial portion of the year still today. Can you grasp that?

      Finally, if you don’t believe anything here, research Mitch Taylor and polar bears. When you find someone more credible than him who disputes his conclusions, come back and tell us who he is.

    • I suggest you research the letter by Sir Joseph Banks, written to the Royal Society in around 1815/16, in which he reports the “much abated” ice in the Arctic circle, suggesting a “new source of warmth” had occurred in the region!!!

    • Doug Coombes – February 11, 2019 at 2:06 pm

      There’s no way that this will not have a significant impact on a species (Polar Bears) that is so reliant on the ice for its survival.

      Your above comment is proof-positive that you are either an adamant proponent of CAGW climate change ….. or that you are sorely miseducated in/on the science of the natural world and are therefore just mimicking a “junk science” comment that you heard/read.

      In actuality, given the fact that female seals and their newborn pups are the PRIMARY food source of Polar Bears, …… the PB’s would survive, thrive and reproduce in much greater numbers if there was NOT any sea ice in the Artic ……… SIMPLY BECAUSE the female seals would have to come ashore to birth their pups and the PB’s would just be lounging around waiting for the “birthing” to begin.

      Just like the Nile crocodiles await patiently at the “river crossings” for the bi-annual wildebeest migrations across the Serengeti plains of southeastern Africa.

    • Doug Coombes: What a surprise you had no follow up to your drive-by comment. Thanks for the laugh, the more ignorant the comment the more hilarious. Does Putin pay for this, or do you troll here to stay in shape between elections?
      I know I’m just feeding the troll, but it’s safer than feeding the bears.

    • Correlation does not equal causation. Basic tenant of actual science, as opposed to so-called “climate science.” The “trend” is meaningless, when you have no evidence of causation.

    • After 2 or 3 replies it becomes a feeding frenzy of triggered deniers. Comon! You guys are encouraging him. The number one rule when dealing with trolls. If you feed them, they will come. You guys really are like a bunch of denying physicist, biologist, meteorological polar bears. I may be deplorable but I leave the triggering to the snowflakes.

      • Wow, you are not even involved and you got all triggered. Snowflakes certainly are delicate. Let me help you! Climate changes, constantly, humans are not causing it and can not stop it. No, no, don’t thank me, just toddle along and find a clue.

  5. Ah.. That’s how the big green blob is getting away with their climate change lies, by blaming climate change for their lies. Clever.

  6. Considering how the entire intent of this site is that, “It’s never climate change”

    Please define exactly what you mean by “climate change”?
    I haven’t read all of the post and comments here but over the years I’ve never read one that says the climate doesn’t change.
    You seem to be addressing whether Man or Nature is the cause of the climate changing.
    Again, “Please define exactly what you mean by ‘climate change’?”.

    • Strongly agree. Where Climate Change formally defined in science? What is the mathematical value in degrees C/year of climate change minus natural variability.

      Does natural variability ever exceed climate change?

      • Yes – but ONLY when the climate isn’t doing something that the Climate Nazis say it should be doing. Otherwise, it’s a non-factor.

        So, if the climate is warming or ice is receding or there are “bad” weather events – it’s “climate change.”

        If there isn’t warming of any significance or ice is expanding or the weather is good – it’s “natural variation.”

        Got it? /sarc

  7. So the Green lobby has gone from Climate change is causing a major decline in the number of polar bears, to now CC is causing a massive increasing in the number of polar bears.

    Can the general public be so stupid as to believe such nonsense. Or is it the usual Media beat up to sell the papers or TV time.

    What is needed is a rich skeptic , who is prepared to set up a Media outlet which actually tells the truth. The question is of course, does the general public want to hear or see the truth, or would they rather live in a fantasy world. ?

    MJE

  8. “So far, Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources has refused to permit shooting the most aggressive polar bears that have attacked people. Polar bears are on the Red List and have been protected in the Russian Arctic since 1956.”

    Yeah, righhhtttt….
    The locals, a very long way from Moscow (like Moscow gives a toss), in one of the most inhospitable climates, at one of the most inhospitable times of the year, are going put their love of a Poly Bear and obediance of a law (whose law?) before love of their own life and property.

    Show me a local of that town, and I will show you a person who can supply a nice range of fur clothing at bargain prices.

  9. It looks like those bears have identified an easy source of food and passed this knowledge on to others.

    Easy access to food can have far reaching consequences. More and more of the bears in the Tahoe region barely hibernate, if at all, owing the the ready supply of garbage and the many houses and cars they can break in to and find food.

  10. It is very strange that the photo depicts this many bears at one food source, and they seem to be behaving in a civilized (for polar bears, anyway) manner….I would not have expected that.

    The old adage….and this proves it yet again….I don’t know what I don’t know!

    • Bullfrex,

      They do the same thing around whale bone piles in Kaktovik, beached whale carcasses and live belugas trapped in ice. There is a dominance hierarchy at these places but it’s really only during the mating season that serious fights break out. But when they do, they can be deadly for weaker bears.

      Interesting fact is that in Alaska, where both brown bears (‘tundra grizzlies’) and polar bears can show up at whale carcasses or whale bone piles, the grizzlies dominate the polar bears. Little female grizzlies will ferociously drive big male polar bears away from the food source and the polar bears will comply.

      • That is rather interesting! Has anyone done any research on why the difference in species actions/reactions in this case? I know Grizzly Bears are quite ferocious and can be aggressive just because they like to be, and other times they will spend awhile watching you then just walk away.

        • No research here, (to be completely transparent) but, I’m gonna just give a scientific guess and say it’s harder for an animal with such a dense coat to expend the energy of there less well furred cousins. Wouldn’t they overheat much faster in a fight. I love hearing from Susan by the way. It’s good to see an honest scientist that hasn’t sold out to the UN money tree.

  11. Typical politicians, and Greenie-weenies; instead of fixing the problem, which is obviously that they have inadvertently provided the bears with a food source, they want to just blame “climate change”. Stop feeding the bears, and they won’t be “invading” your town, you imbeciles.

  12. I don’t suppose it has occurred to anyone that the problem here is people living in polar bear habitat and not the other way round.

  13. Wide availability of food(trash) and close contact without consequence(illegal to shoot them) has caused this. It is a damned military base, man up and start shooting the f**kers. They will leave. Some apparatchik from Moscow shows up shoot them.

  14. Thanks Susan.

    A few days ago when I first saw this story my first thought was of the old home town dump, where we would go and watch black bears come and feed at night. Of course those sorts of dumps were closed years ago and the bears went back to their pre-dump ways.
    My second thought was that Susan would soon have a post on this, so I went back outside and finished clearing snow off of things.

  15. Well, the proselyte CBC would not miss a chance to add its voice to the choir and it is no other than their dedicated Russophobe Moscow correspondent Chris Brown, who used to report on dead cats in Vancouver, who does the job for the Ceeb:
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/polar-bears-russia-novaya-zemlya-1.5014108

    Warming climate
    In a statement, the Russian branch of the World Wildlife Fund blamed the influx of bears on a warming climate causing a loss of sea ice, which has forced the bears to look elsewhere for food.
    “Such a massive accumulation of bears is a unique case for Novaya Zemlya,” said the statement. “But it only confirms the trend: people and predators in the Arctic are increasingly meeting each other.

  16. Just the raw refuse dumps attracting the bears!

    At Longyearbyen, where I visited in 2010, the local outpost of the University of Norway, UNIS, positions student “housing” up the slope of the narrow valley and up slope of the student housing is the dog housing.

    So the “Bear Alarm System” is, dogs howl followed by students streaming.

    From the looks of things, this system keep both the dog and student populations at manageable numbers and protects the coal miners who are the most valuable of residents.

    Ha ha.

  17. Sometimes it really depresses me, how many people are brainwashed with that “global warming” scam. Relentless propaganda leaves almist no space for reason. Shall they win? Shall we all, and our children, pay the terrible price, again and again, for human stupidity and need for religion?

  18. This BS global warming claim vs garbage has been going on for over a decade. To counter Inuit claims that it was the time of most polar bears, PBSG’s Ian Stirling from the Canadian Wildlife Service and NASA climate scientist Claire Parkinson teamed up to rebut the Inuit interpretation in a 2006 paper. They claimed less sea ice drove more bears on shore causing more encounters in Churchill. The Inuits pointed to the growing garbage dump amplified by the tourists

    Daryll Hedman who heads the Polar Bear Alert Program in Churchill reported that before the town dump was closed in 2005, the average number of problem bears handled was 80 a year. The highest number of problem bears in one season was 176 in 2003. After the dumped closed, the number of problem bears that needed handling plummeted. By 2011, the average number of problem bears was just 50 per season despite less summer sea ice.

    • Interesting, isn’t it?

      Hard to compare past totals to recent after the initiation of the ‘zero-tolerance’ policy after the 2013 attack but 2017 and 2018 were virtually identical in terms of length of season in Western Hudson Bay. Both were very early freeze-up years. Churchill had 251 problems with bears in 2018 but only 141 in 2017. Correlation between sea ice and problem bears? I don’t see one.

      In 2016, which was a very late freeze-up year, there were 386 problem bears reported. If there was going to be an attack because of lack of ice, it should have been then. But there weren’t any.

      Back in 1983 (when there was still a dump) there was a very late freeze-up (as late as 2016), one person was mauled (but survived) and one person was mauled to death. Patrol had 191 calls in 1983 (vs. 76 in 1982 and 69 in 1984) – all from one of Stirling’s reports.

      I’d say the late freeze-up explains the high number of Churchill incidents in 2016 as well as in 1983 but sea ice doesn’t explain a difference of 110 problems between 2017 and 2018.

      Stirling and others use sea ice trends to explain particular incidents: like conflating climate and weather. Of course, the data you discuss Jim, from Stirling and Parkinson, ended in 2004 and has not been updated yet it still gets cited.

  19. I mapped geology and undertook mining exploration for many years in Yukon Territory (now province), northern British Columbia, Saskatchewan Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador and encountered Grizzlies in the West and black bears throughout the country. Garbage dumps are the apex prey. You had to dig a pit at each campsite wash out tin cans and fill the pit in in strips.

    On Babine Lake, B.C. we had an orphaned cub visit our camp and come to our table (outdoors under a tarp roof) at breakfast. We looked around for its mother of course and chased the cub away but it kept coming back. Mother was a no show. One of the assistants held up a bottle of maple syrup and poured it down the cub’s throat. For a couple of weeks, we caught rainbow trout in the lake from the canoe and fed him. When we moved camp, down the lake he chased along the shore. We set up camp on the other side of the lake to get away from him (it is a very big lake – 153km (95mi) long and 2 to 10km wide (1.3-6.2mi wide). Yeah they like human towns and camps.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babine_Lake

    • Did you feed him the fish live so he got the idea? I am on the fence about feeding stray wild animals, at least do so in a way they may figure out about feeding themselves.

  20. Throw out chum, attracts starving sharks caused by global warming.
    Throw out corn, attracts starving deer caused by global warming.
    Throw out old bread, attracts starving Squirrels caused by global warming.
    Throw out bird seed, attracts starving birds caused by global warming.
    Throw out garbage in arctic, attracts starving polar bears caused by global warming.
    Throw out green money, attracts gory humans caused by global warming.

  21. I read the story in the Guardian.
    It was one of the worst pieces of warming propaganda I’ve ever read, with no explanation as to how the writer arrived at their conclusion connecting the event to climate change, plus their claim about the “Anthropocene” was also incorrect.

    So I logged on to try to calm the other hysterical respondents who were in the throes of out-guilting one another.

    Guess what happened? My comments which were that research shows that bears are thriving was blocked 3 times as they didn’t meet the Guardian’s “standards”.

    The Guardian is now pandering to fake news that is swallowed up whole by nervous, hysterical alarmists.

    I already knew that but had no idea about the blunt “moderation” to keep the false narrative on track.

    • I always look forward to the BBC’s and Guardian’s stories about global warming, every time entertaining and good for a laugh. As long as there are such stupid journos in the public media there’s always hope for the rest of us, the people of the average intelligence.

      • The problem is that most people have lost the ability to critically analyse the claims that the BBC etc. make and that’s not good.

        Witness the supposed adults, letting the climate kids run the show.

        These allowing that sort of nonsense are the same progressives who think lowering the voting age to 12 is a good idea!

    • My post containing a link to this article was allowed at the equally progressive Sydney Morning Herald here in Australia. One of only 8 comments.

  22. I’m glad I’m not the only one with this reaction.

    “Oh, look. The bears are eating at the town dump.”

    “Well, there’s your problem.”

    Granted, some media outlets didn’t have access to that photo when the first got the story but there were some that did. They STILL ran with the Global Warming is to blame narrative.

  23. What amazes me is how the bears put their natural anti-social tendencies/aggressions aside and “get along” on the trash-pile.

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