Good news: Gulf of Boothia and M’Clintock Channel polar bear survey results

Reposted from Polar Bear Science

Posted on November 17, 2020

Final reports for two Canadian subpopulations reveal the number of polar bears in M’Clintock Channel has more than doubled since 2000 while Gulf of Boothia as remained about the same despite moderate declines in summer sea ice cover. All of the survey results were published online yesterday (16 November 2020) and I was alerted to the posting this morning via email by a Nunavut employee.

M’Clintock Channel
2014-2016 via genetic biopsy darting

Dyck, Lukacs, and Ware (2020) summary:

  • Mean abundance estimate 716 (range 545 – 955) for 2014-2016.
    compared to 284 (range 225-343) for 1998-2000 (Taylor et al. 2006), so population size more than doubled between study periods.
  • Numbers of males and females increased between study periods due to reduced hunting and ‘improved habitat quality.’
  • Population has recovered from previous overharvest (1970s-1990s).

M’Clintock Channel ‘Key Points’ summary here and summary pdf is here. Detailed summary here and full report pdf is here.

Sea ice decline: Note that according to the IUCN 2015 polar bear assessment report (Regehr et al. 2016 Figure 2), summer sea ice decline for M’Clintock Channel has been similar to Foxe Basin (below). See a discussion (with references) of sea ice decline vs. documented harm to polar bears here.

Gulf of Boothia

2015-2017 via genetic biopsy darting

Dyck, Regehr, and Ware (2020) summary:

  • Mean abundance estimate 1525 (range 1231-1819) for 2015–2017 compared to 1592 (range 1231-1953) in 1998-2000 (Taylor et al. 2009), so about the same.
  • Mean litter sizes showed no trend between study periods.
  • Mean cub-of-the-year litter sizes were 1.61 (range 1.51 – 1.70), which is about as high as any population reported and similar to Western Hudson Bay in 2016 and Kane Basin in 2014 (Crockford 2020).
  • Mean yearling litter sizes were 1.53 (1.41 – 1.64).
  • Body condition (i.e., fatness) in the spring increased between the study periods.
  • Survival rate for adult females was higher than adult males (0.95 vs. 0.85).
  • Abundance of adult females increased from 0.57 to 0.61 between the study periods.
  • Population survival indicators suggest a ‘good potential for growth’.

Detailed Gulf of Boothi summary here and full report pdf is here.

Sea ice decline: Note that according to the IUCN 2015 polar bear assessment report calculations (Regehr et al. 2016 Figure 2), summer sea ice decline for Gulf of Boothia has been similar to the Southern Beaufort:


Crockford, S.J. 2020. State of the Polar Bear Report 2019. Global Warming Policy Foundation Report 39, London. Pdf here.

Dyck, M., Lukacs, P., and Ware, J.V. 2020. Re-estimating the abundance of a recovering polar bear subpopulation by genetic mark-recapture in M’Clintock Channel, Nunavut, Canada. Final Report, Government of Nunavut, Department of Environment, Iglulik. 29 July 2020. Pdf here.

Dyck, M., Regehr, E.V. and Ware, J.V. 2020. Assessment of Abundance for the Gulf of Boothia Polar Bear Subpopulation Using Genetic Mark-Recapture. Final Report, Government of Nunavut, Department of Environment, Iglulik. 12 June 2020. Pdf here.

Regehr, E.V., Laidre, K.L, Akçakaya, H.R., Amstrup, S.C., Atwood, T.C., Lunn, N.J., Obbard, M., Stern, H., Thiemann, G.W., & Wiig, Ø. 2016. Conservation status of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in relation to projected sea-ice declines. Biology Letters 12: 20160556. Supplementary data here.

Taylor, M.K., J.L. Laake, P.D. McLoughlin, H.D. Cluff, and F. Messier. 2006a. Demography and population viability of polar bears in the Gulf of Boothia, Nunavut. Government of Nunavut, Department of Environment, Final Wildlife Report #8, Iqaluit. Pdf here.

Taylor, M.K., Laake, J.L., McLoughlin, P.D., Cluff, H.D., Messier, F. 2006b. Demographic parameters and harvest-explicit population viability analysis for polar bears in M’Clintock Channel, Nunavut. Journal of Wildlife Management 70: 1667–1673.

Taylor, M.K., Laake, J.L., McLoughlin, P.D., Cluff, H.D., and Messier, F. 2009. Demography and population viability of polar bears in the Gulf of Boothia, Nunavut. Marine Mammal Science 25:778-796.

64 thoughts on “Good news: Gulf of Boothia and M’Clintock Channel polar bear survey results

    • In my teens I was a leftist. I also discovered that leftism was almost a mental illness, it meant I had to reject objective reality and lie in hope that my lies would transform reality into my utopia. That made me uncomfortable and I abandoned my leftist stance and now like to think of myself as an independent realist.
      Greta lies in the hope her lies will bring us to a better place. I cant really fault her for that, she means well but she is wrong. Only truth can show us the path to a brighter future.

      • Bjorn, In USA most city’s add vitamin Fluoride to drinking water to avoid transformation you experienced. See Agenda 21 NWO ….Welcome aboard Red Pill Express.

          • ClarkW
            BigOleAl does NOT wear a “tin foil hat.”
            That is a bicycle helmet he wears at all times.
            And it is lined with aluminum foil, not tin foil.
            Aluminum foil resists extraterrestrial dust and 5G electromagnetic waves. Only fools and old fogies still use tin foil. I actually use titanium foil inside my bicycle helmet, which reflects probes from hovering UFOs. No space alien is going to probe me.

      • Winston Churchill:
        “Anyone that’s not a Liberal by twenty has no heart. Anyone that is not a Conservative by forty has no brain”

          • Not true. There were times when he was completely drunk! having said that, I only wish that the politicians in charge of Britain at the moment would hit the bottle like he did – they might, just possibly, absorb some of his abundant wit and wisdom.

      • Bjorn
        Greta Thunberg won my climate science blog’s highest honor last year:
        Climate Buffoon of the Year 2019.
        I’m sure her parents are making millions off her, unfortunately, more than 15 minutes of “fame”.

  1. What about the entire Russian arctic coastline, Beuafort Sea, Barents Sea? where there has been a distinct lack of ice all year and in some cases there still is?

    Cherrypicking and misrepresentation again!

    • I admire your tenacity.

      I’m guessing that Susan’s ability to use the Russian data is much more limited than for the Canadian data. That’s not to say there is no Russian data. I don’t know how it is these days but the Russians have always had a big science presence in the arctic.

      Unless you can show that it’s easy and cheap to access the Russian data, you shouldn’t accuse Susan of cherry picking. Those papers don’t translate themselves you know.

    • griff November 18, 2020 at 6:26 am
      What about over there? It’s just beneath the surface.
      It’s right around the corner, you’ll see. Look A squirrel!

    • Let’s all chip in and buy griff a ticket to go count the poley bears along the Russia northern coastline. It will be a cheap ticket because it only needs to be one-way.

    • What does it say about a guy who presents the same disinformation every single day, no matter how many times he’s corrected, and then tries to turn it around and accuse others of his own methods?

    • griff asks a legitimate question in this case, since the article in question is about a small polar bear region, while the issue of actual concern is the total polar bear population. But griff goes on to call it a cherry-pick and misinformation. As sceptics, we are used to seeing cherry-picks and misinformation, and one of our strengths is being able to call them out when they occur on either side of an argument.

      So, is this article a cherry-pick or misinformation?

      I checked in the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)’s How many Polar Bears are there? and the WWF reports that the area in question does indeed have a rising population. I think that rules out misinformation.

      The article is clearly about a specific area and makes no claim that it represents the overall situation. So it isn’t a cherry-pick. But readers must remain aware that the article is about just a particular area.

      PS. I came across an interesting pair of paragraphs in the above WWF report. I think it shows just how difficult it is to be sure about anything:

      These polar bears are also showing other signs of climate change-related stress. Because the ice is breaking up earlier there are declines in the survival rates of both young and old bears. The bears are also thinner.

      However, local communities living among the polar bears note the opposite and report increasing numbers across Hudson Bay. This highlights the need for more monitoring and joint efforts to better understand what’s happening with these bears.

    • Griff
      You are 0-forever when it comes to positive polar bear numbers

      Sorry but I have to say you seem a little retarded?

    • Why an increse is good ?
      Polar bears didn’t interest me until the green agenda and WWF started the campaign of polar bear extinction, following their baseless ideology, climatechange kiIIs polarbears.

    • If polar bear populations are increasing one might also assume that their food sources are increasing or becoming more plentiful as well. Absent some breeding abnormality, prey population increases surely must precede predator population increases.

  2. “Numbers of males and females increased between study periods due to reduced hunting and ‘improved habitat quality.’”

    Doesn’t it all boils down to mainly a hunting issue?

    I have eaten elk-burger and speculate where I can buy a polar-bear-burger.
    Maybe Mr Gore has tasted bear-burgers, I should ask him.

  3. It’s amazing. Whenever an article mentioning Arctic ice or Polar Bears occurs on WUWT, it’s like an alarm goes off in Griffland alerting him to it, so that he can come here spouting his hand-wavy, fact-free, warmunist propaganda. Like clockwork.

  4. As a matter of fact the ice conditions in this area have changed very little since the 19th century.

    The Gulf of Boothia becomes ice-free or very nearly so every summer, like it did in the 19th century.

    The southern part of the McClintock channel, south of King William Island, also becomes ice-free every summer, now and in the 19th century.

    The northern part, north of King William Island, only rarely becomes reasonably ice-free, in exceptional summers, both now and then.

    The Franklin expedition learned this the hard way, they sailed down Peel Sound in 1846, an exceptionally good year, and then got stuck for at least two and probably four years off King William Island.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *