Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) on an iceberg in Northwest Fjord in eastern Greenland.

Polar bear attack in Greenland gratuitously blamed on recent ‘heat wave’

From Polar Bear Science

A polar bear bit the hand of a member of a film crew near the Danish military base of Daneborg in East Greenland on Monday (2 August) and predictably, this has been blamed on recent warm temperatures in the region. There is no specific evidence of cause and effect, of course. The news outlet reporting the incident cites some non-specified ‘experts’ as providing the generic ‘warming makes polar bears starve or behave badly’ excuse that makes no sense in this particular instance.

Here is what the news report had to say (3 Aug), my emphasis:

Early on Monday, while the sun does not set in summer at this latitude, the bear poked his head through a poorly closed window of a research station where the documentary team was staying about 400 metres from the small base of Daneborg.

A Danish Arctic military unit based in Greenland said the bear bit the hand of one of the three male team members before they used warning pistols to force the animal to flee.

Transported first to Daneborg, the injured documentary maker had to be evacuated to Akureyri, a town in Iceland.

Already blamed for five incidents until now, the bear returned again later in the morning and then again overnight Monday to Tuesday when it broke a window of the research station before fleeing.

“The local authorities have from now on categorised the bear as ‘problematic,’ which allows for it to be shot dead, if it returns,” the Danish military unit said.

Daneborg is marked on the map below:

Any bear causing problems in this region would have just come off the ice, since three weeks ago there was plenty of ice available offshore a bit to the north (see chart below for 7 July). Virtually all bears are at their best condition at this time of year, except for young, inexperienced bears or those that are sick or injured. Warm temperatures would not be causing any bear to be desperately looking for food unless it was desperate for some other reason (sick, injured, or an under-nourished young bear). However, nothing is stated in this report about the physical condition of the bear, its approximate age or its sex, even though it has been seen multiple times. Young male bears, for example, are far more likely to become problems near communities than any other age class (Wilder et al. 2017), because these bears have to compete with older, larger bears to keep whatever seals they manage to kill.

Note the reliance on un-named ‘experts’ at the end of the same news report:

Experts say the retreat of the ice pack, the hunting ground of the polar bear, forces them to stay on land more often and they find it harder to find food and sustain a species already considered vulnerable.

Although still rare, the close encounters with humans are increasing as bears more frequently approach inhabited areas in their search for food, environmental protection officers say.

What generic pap! The community has a problem bear on its hands, a situation which northern communities across the Arctic must contend with on a continual basis. Even if there was ice offshore, there would be the possibility of bears coming ashore and causing problems.

There is also the issue no one wants to talk about because it has nothing to do with declining sea ice: with more bears comes more problem bears.


Wilder, J.M., Vongraven, D., Atwood, T., Hansen, B., Jessen, A., Kochnev, A., York, G., Vallender, R., Hedman, D. and Gibbons, M. 2017. Polar bear attacks on humans: implications of a changing climate. Wildlife Society Bulletin, in press. DOI: 10.1002/wsb.783 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wsb.783/full

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August 6, 2021 6:09 am

If they (the ‘news outlet’) don’t or won’t name an ‘expert’, it’s fake news. Simple as that.

Richard Page
Reply to  Disputin
August 6, 2021 1:35 pm

The exact same article, word for word, can be seen on quite a few different online news feeds. I think only the local Danish news item is different – no mention of expert, heatwave or feeding, just the basic, unadorned story. Has someone been ‘modifying’ this story so it conforms to an agenda before distributing it to various news outlets? Someone or some organisation that’s done similar things with other news items before? It’s an interesting fingerprint, running a news story from an agency without changing one single word in it – normally a journalist or editor will change things around a bit, emphasizing different parts or adding extra bits of background so that it’s different from another news outlet, but not with these stories.

August 6, 2021 6:10 am

There was no “attack”…..it was just an interaction….bears and sharks do not attack….they are in their environment and simply interact – got it?

Reply to  Anti_griff
August 6, 2021 6:22 am

I’m looking forward to ‘interacting’ with my dinner tonight!

Reply to  Anti_griff
August 6, 2021 6:52 am

It wasn’t an attack, it was more of a warning.
If it had been an attack, the hand wouldn’t have just been bitten, it would have been ripped off up to the shoulder.

Last edited 1 year ago by MarkW
lee riffee
Reply to  MarkW
August 6, 2021 7:45 am

Yes. If that bear was really hungry it would have done its best to pull the guy right thru the window and kill him.

Joel Snider
Reply to  MarkW
August 6, 2021 8:39 pm

Although, it’s worth mentioning that polar bears ARE far and away the most dangerous of the bruin clan, and probably the last terrestrial predator I’d want to encounter in the wild – worse than tigers or lions.

Reply to  Anti_griff
August 6, 2021 9:05 am

It wasn’t an attack. It was a negative encounter. Just as sharks don’t attack people, they just have negative encounters.

Joel Snider
Reply to  Wade
August 6, 2021 8:37 pm

Saw that rebranding too, huh?

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Anti_griff
August 6, 2021 10:06 am

It was a “mostly peaceful” interaction.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Anti_griff
August 6, 2021 12:16 pm

A white bear member of the civic association Seal Lives Matter trying to change diet and strat feeding on humans?

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Anti_griff
August 6, 2021 6:21 pm

An ‘Adverse Event’?

That is the term used in the .gov.au reports when someone gets sick after taking the jab.

Currently we have more Adverse Events then total cases by the way.

Joel Snider
Reply to  Anti_griff
August 6, 2021 8:37 pm

I think they’re calling it ‘negative encounters’ now.
Attacks are bad press.

August 6, 2021 6:13 am

The bear was angry because he saw an human responsible for the melting ice.
I answer for griff 😀

To bed B
August 6, 2021 6:18 am

Polar bear bites film crew is not Global Warming.

Film crew bites polar bear is global warming!

Reply to  To bed B
August 6, 2021 9:10 am

Polar bear tourists kill polar bear after interaction is global warming via WWF and NatGeo promotional efforts of polar bear T-shirts.

August 6, 2021 6:18 am

Let me guess, he tried to stroke it?

Unless he was trying to feed it or shut the window, how else could his hand have been close enough?

I’ve been bitten by dogs, bitten and scratched by cats, stung by wasps etc. If only I’d thought of blaming the weather….

Last edited 1 year ago by fretslider
Dodgy Geezer
Reply to  fretslider
August 6, 2021 7:07 am

I once got stung by nettles. They would not have been there if the CO2 levels were below 200ppm.

In fact, no plants would have been there at all…

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
August 6, 2021 10:49 am

Neither would you. 😇

Reply to  fretslider
August 6, 2021 7:36 am

If a thunderstorm is on the way, it may be wasps are more aggressive

Reply to  fretslider
August 6, 2021 7:37 am

Let me guess, he tried to stroke it?

More than likely. I wondered the same thing. There’s no way my hand would get within biting distance of a polar bear unless it had already eaten both my legs !!

Ed Zuiderwijk
August 6, 2021 6:21 am

The bear just thought that lunch had arrived.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
August 6, 2021 6:45 am

At the drive-in?

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
August 6, 2021 8:02 am

Lunch??? Surely a hand would be nothing more than a nibble between journalists………..err sorry I meant meals??? HAGWE everybody, that includes you too Griffy baby, I’m not as biggotted or prejudiced as you!!! ;-))

Ben Vorlich
August 6, 2021 6:30 am

There are various species that have become urbanised and for various reasons, but in the case of carnivores and omnivores is usually because raiding human rubbish is a lot easier than hunting an alert prey. For herbivores there’s night grazing in parks and gardens.
Polar Bears are following a well trodden path, unlike foxes in the UK they regard humans as fair game, when that happens humans regard polar bears as problematic. As both human and polar bear populations in the Arctic both increase these incidents will only increase

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
August 6, 2021 6:43 am

Foxes will take babies when they can

The mother of a baby, who was attacked by a fox in Bromley, has told Daybreak of the moment she found the animal dragging her child out of the house.”


To some degree, size matters.

Andy Wilkins
Reply to  fretslider
August 6, 2021 7:29 am

I grew up in Bromley (London’s biggest and probably most boring borough) and I still live elsewhere in London today. As the decades have gone by foxes have become more and more brazen: when I was a kid in the 70s they would dash off as soon as they saw you. Now they just stare at you with this, “So what?” look on their faces.

Reply to  Andy Wilkins
August 6, 2021 7:40 am

They really have little fear these days. I’ve seen them lying in the road and only get up when a car has stopped to avoid running over it.

They are very comfortable in their urban environment.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  fretslider
August 6, 2021 8:06 am

The old story goes, “If a Fox breaks into a hen-house & steals a hen for food & its young, how many hens are left??? Answer? NONE, it will kill them all but only steal the one!!!

Reply to  Andy Wilkins
August 6, 2021 8:02 am

“I grew up in Bromley (London’s biggest and probably most boring borough)”

What are we to take from that statement !!!
Are you a product of your formative environment ??? (:-))

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  saveenergy
August 6, 2021 8:11 am

Well, my wife says I’m supremely boring, so I’m going to blame it on my formative years.

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  fretslider
August 6, 2021 7:39 am

Wait, what? Didn’t something exactly like that happen in Australia with Dingoes? Foxes are small animals, infants are fairly heavy items to be dragging off.

Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
August 6, 2021 7:57 am

Yes it did. But what I described was no one-off.

You do know how big a fox can be and how small babies are?

A four-week-old baby boy was attacked by a fox in his home in south London, the Metropolitan Police have said. He was treated for a hand injury and taken to St Thomas’ Hospital after the attack on 6 February in the borough of Lewisham.” – BBC

A four week old infant isn’t going to be much more than 8 to 10 lbs on average.

Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
August 6, 2021 8:07 am

I’ve wached a fox drag a sheep ~100yds into some cover, they are strong.

Coeur de Lion
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
August 6, 2021 9:52 am

Read ‘Arctic Dreams’ again on polar bears and wonder

Right-Handed Shark
August 6, 2021 6:49 am

Clearly the Arctic is far too warm, otherwise why would Wally seek out the Gulf stream-cooled waters of the UK, Ireland and northern Europe?


or maybe sometimes these things just happen..

Last edited 1 year ago by Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
August 6, 2021 6:54 am
Richard Page
Reply to  KirriePete
August 6, 2021 8:46 am

What about it? The UK has a large population of different types of sharks around the coasts, it’s not unusual. Even visiting great white sharks have been sighted on odd occasions for decades. It happens when you live on an island. Now a shark sighting in Switzerland would be newsworthy.

Reply to  Richard Page
August 6, 2021 10:21 am

Switzerland has its fair share of sharks, just not the marine kind. Most of them are bankers (which is also rhyming slang for them)

H. D. Hoese
August 6, 2021 7:08 am

“…..We found that nutritionally stressed adult male polar bears were the most likely to pose threats to human safety….This work represents an important first step towards ……” Ok they were hungry, all these papers like to pat themselves on the back, often twice or more.

TV is full of shark attack programs, haven’t watched them all, but the ones I have seen, with the literature seem to ignore a well known strategy in mammals, extended foraging. We are saving sharks whose populations are increasing, catch and release popular, more survive than thought. Attacks are often clustered which gave rise to the idea of “Rogue Sharks.” When you are hungry you take more risks, venture more widely, more swimmers to encounter. Whatever happened to considering all hypotheses. Paper paywalled, no references, so can’t be sure.

Examples, second I recall was hyenas.
Beckoff, M. And M. C. Wells. 1986. Social ecology and behavior of coyotes. Advances Study Behavior. 15:251-338.
Davies, N. B. And A. I. Houston. 1984. Territory Economics, pp. 148-169. In: Behavioural Ecology, An Evolutonary Approach. Sinauer and Associates.

There is now a movement to call such shark/human encounters “bites” instead of attacks. Some are, some aren’t.

Andy Wilkins
August 6, 2021 7:24 am

Maybe the poley bears get sweaty and irritable in the blazing sun and stifling heat out there on the ice, or sumfink…

Ron Long
August 6, 2021 7:49 am

If it was a black bear they would have spiked the story.

Reply to  Ron Long
August 6, 2021 9:33 am

Don’t suffer black bears twice as much from global warming?

August 6, 2021 7:52 am

They fed the bear, bear returned and wanted more food, they did not give it more food so it chose what it wanted to eat. Moronic “journalist” idiots, they deserve to be eaten.

Reply to  2hotel9
August 6, 2021 2:09 pm

Bit the hand that fed him, eh?

Gary Pearse
August 6, 2021 8:28 am

Problem bears come in all colors. On Snag River in Yukon, Canada I built a mining exploration camp on an island to minimize grizzly visits. It was an active area with a number of competing companies and I reasoned bears would find the ‘mainland’ camps easier pickings. As I learned later ours was one of the few left alone.

We did get a visitor by helicopter, a Dutch geologist excited by running into a herd of musk oxen. I assured him he was mistaken. He insisted I get in the chopper to have a look. It turned out to be a dozen or more buffalo that winter over in the shadow of the St. Elias range where snow is light and they can graze through it.

On Babine lake, Northern BC (and across Canada) black bears are a nuisance. We had an orphan yearling black bear that came right up to the breakfast table (rough hewn spruce with a tarp roof) and one of the crew poured a bottle of maple syrup down its throat.

We didn’t want to shoot it, so we caught a couple of dozen rainbow trout for him each evening, which the mountain snow fed lake was full of. He still raided our grub so we went up the lake and to the south shore to reset up camp.

Any person working in the woods WILL encounter nuisance bears. And this is from an expert that trumps the gullible warming ones.

August 6, 2021 8:29 am

It’s a little known scientific fact that +normal temperatures drive polar bears to consume human flesh. 😉🙄

Reply to  Philip
August 6, 2021 10:23 am

It’s a little known fact, that back when CO2 levels were only 280ppm, polar bears were vegetarians.

Last edited 1 year ago by MarkW
August 6, 2021 9:06 am

Someone needs to remind the news outlets that a “science-based and fact-supported” consensus does not need to resort to this to get ahead. These scares and deflections are the hallmarks of agenda advocacy science. Isn’t that right Griff.

August 6, 2021 9:29 am

Before global warming polar bears were totally harmless, cute little pets, not ever posing any danger to humans, let alone biting them in the hand. This outrageous and totally unnatural incident proves AGW to be true a 103%.

Pat from kerbob
August 6, 2021 10:17 am

To paraphrase Justin Trudeau

The human experienced it differently than the bear.

The bear was just saying hi

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
August 6, 2021 5:16 pm

The bear might have just been curious. He interacted with humans and didn’t get harmed, so he figures he’ll do it again. A new experience. Then the humans shoot him for his trouble.

Steve Z
August 6, 2021 10:46 am

Considering the location, it’s not surprising that the polar bear is along the coast. The Greenland ice sheet stays frozen year-round up to a few miles from the coast, so there would be nothing up there for a polar bear (or any other animal) to eat. The polar bears can feed on fish as long as there are ice floes offshore, but during the few months of open water, a polar bear in that region would be forced to roam the shore along the thin strip of land not covered by ice.

This is a different situation than for polar bears living around Hudson Bay, northern Alaska, or Siberia, where there is a wide swath of relatively flat tundra which is snow-free during the summer, and more food (small mammals and fish in freshwater streams) available on land.

August 6, 2021 10:51 am

Nothing to do with population pressure driving bears to look for new food sources? How about greens and climatsrologists?

August 6, 2021 10:52 am

Anyone else think a bite on the hand is a little odd? Was he trying to shoo the bear out or something else that got his hand in range of the bear’s mouth?

Richard Page
Reply to  Charlie
August 7, 2021 2:47 am

The wording is a bit odd – if that bear had eaten the hand, I’m sure the language used would’ve reflected that. Inquisitive bear pushes head through poorly closed window, idiot panics and tries to push window closed, bear panics and bites hand. Linking that to the baseless accusation that the bear wanted something to eat is pure propaganda.

August 6, 2021 11:09 am

Experts say that it is unwise to feed your hand to a polar bear.

Reply to  Neo
August 7, 2021 3:57 am

Yes but more research needed. Send funding!

Reply to  niceguy
August 8, 2021 6:55 am

Send more hands!

August 6, 2021 12:16 pm

The people who make those specious claims know there are plenty of gullible people who will simply believe any lie they are told if it sounds like it came from Authority.
Which his why the Appeal to Authority (or Argument from False Authority, part of this fallacy where even the premise is wrong) is so often used by the climate scammers, it frequently works on weak minded people.


Abolition Man
August 6, 2021 12:26 pm

Fortunately for the film crew member this bear wasn’t hungry; just curious! If the bear had been hungry we would be reading about a mauling or a death instead!
This type of behavior will be increasingly seen as the bear and human populations grow and interact together. The only way to discourage it is to teach the bears that humans are not a safe food source. The bears are intelligent enough to learn; I’m not sure most humans are intelligent enough to teach them such!

August 6, 2021 2:13 pm

Climate change is such a serious threat that anything must be done to save the planet :

  • I thus sincerely hope there is at least one polar bear (and some journalists to feed him) on the other side of Greenland, so that they can together counterbalance our protagonists and then prevent the island from capsizing.
John Swallow
August 6, 2021 7:54 pm

This occurred near where I lived in Northern Alaska for 14 years. 
ANCHORAGE, DEC. 9 — A polar bear killed and partially ate a 28-year-old man in a rare attack at a remote Alaska whaling village, local and federal officials said today.
The man, Carl Stalker, was killed by the bear at about 4 a.m. Saturday in the Chukchi Sea village of Point Lay, about 650 miles northwest of Anchorage, according to a statement released by the North Slope Borough Public Safety Office.

John Swallow
August 6, 2021 7:58 pm

It can result in worst injury than being bit on the hand by a bear. 
Polar Bear Breaks Into Alaska Radar Station, Mauls Mechanic
DEC. 2, 1993 12 AM PT
An eight-foot polar bear crashed through a window into a dormitory at a remote Air Force radar station, mauling a 55-year-old mechanic before one of his terrified co-workers shot and killed the animal, authorities said Wednesday.
The mechanic, Donald Chaffin, was in critical condition at Anchorage hospital with a collapsed lung and injuries to his face, neck and chest.
Crew members at the Oliktok Point radar site northwest of Prudhoe Bay on the Beaufort Sea told authorities that they had finished dinner Tuesday night when a bear pawed at a window of the dormitory’s dining area. They tried to scare the animal off by banging the window with a rolled-up magazine. The bear disappeared for a moment, but came back and broke through the window.

August 7, 2021 1:53 am

and yet there HAS been a recent heatwave in Greenland and one of the highest one day melt events… new record temp set along W Greenland coast

August 7, 2021 9:43 pm

Maybe they are hungry because a well known environmentalist television presenter and film crew chased the Walrus off a cliff?

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