The Conversation: Climate Change Turned Polar Bears into Opportunists

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to PHD student Henry Anderson-Elliott, the uptick in photos of polar bears scavenging trash dumps or hunting land animals is likely because of climate change.

Polar bears eating reindeer: normal behaviour or result of climate change?

December 30, 2021 10.53pm AEDT

Henry Anderson-Elliott
PhD, University of Cambridge

Recently, scientists in Hornsund, Svalbard – a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic ocean – witnessed a polar bear pursuing a reindeer into the sea before killing it, dragging it ashore and eating it. The video that they captured was widely shared on news and social media platforms. Then, two days later, they saw the same bear beside a second fresh reindeer kill. 

Their observations are the first detailed account of a complete and successful polar bear hunt of a Svalbard reindeer. But they follow 13 previous reports of polar bears preying and scavenging on reindeer on the same archipelago between 1983 and 1999.

From stalking and chasing Canadian caribou, fishing for Arctic char and catching geese and rodents to grazing on vegetation and patrolling human refuse sites, polar bears can eat, have eaten and have tried to eat many things.

But the viability of these onshore food sources is doubtful as a long-term strategy. In their study of foraging on the eider duck nests of Mitvik island, Canada, researchers found polar bears to be inefficient predators of seabird eggs, such that the energy an individual bear gains from eggs may be less than previously thought. That’s because they may use more energy to find the eggs than they get from eating them. Equally, other studies have found that the consumption of terrestrial food by polar bears has been insufficient to compensate for reduced hunting opportunities out on the ice. 

Therefore, increasing reports of summer scavenging, foraging and terrestrial hunting are unsurprising in the context of climate change, high energy stress and the resulting effect on their bodies. 

Therefore, observations like those in Hornsund reinforce the need for further peer-reviewed research on the future of this iconic species. This single event should not be seen as definitive proof of shifting diets in a warmer world, but as a reminder of the spectacular creatures we stand to lose. A species whose fate, even in the distant reaches of their Arctic landscape, is inexorably bound to our own.’

Read more:

Here I was thinking Polar Bears were opportunistic Arctic omnivores, but this is clearly not the case. We have shamefully corrupted this noble green icon with our wickedness.

No doubt before climate change, if a Polar Bear saw a human rubbish dump full of smelly old meat, it would have turned its nose up at the unworthy human refuse, and continued on to its traditional seal hunting ground. Pristine polar bears would never do something as demeaning as eating our trash.

Do I need a /sarc tag?

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Zig Zag Wanderer
December 31, 2021 6:12 pm

Much better that they murder seal pups according to the CAGW doomsday death cult

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
January 1, 2022 12:36 am

That’s part of the balance of nature…

Or do you think we should round them up and feed them vegan ready meals?

Reply to  griff
January 1, 2022 3:22 am


I think that’s the only comment that I can recall by you that really made any sense.

Mark Whitney
Reply to  eyesonu
January 1, 2022 6:16 am

Pure accident. Broken clocks and alll.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  griff
January 1, 2022 4:12 am

Well, griff, I’m glad that you admit to being part of the CAGW Doomsday Death Cult.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  griff
January 1, 2022 5:35 am

If you really believe in the “balance of nature”, then you must also disbelieve in the value of being “vegan”!

Joao Martins
Reply to  griff
January 1, 2022 7:18 am

YES! Human Rights Matter (HRM)! If humans should not eat meat because climate change, why should bears be allowed to eat it? It compromises the “balance of nature”, right, griff?

Reply to  griff
January 1, 2022 9:32 am

Can we feed them vegans?

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
January 1, 2022 10:20 am

Of course we can. To polar bears, vegans are practically a food group … meat popsicles.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
January 1, 2022 3:28 pm

They tend to be a bit stringy with tough meat, unfortunately.

Reply to  griff
January 1, 2022 11:05 am

There’s almost never balance in nature. In this case an increase in the number of polar bears without a similar increase in seals has led the bears to seek food on land. Polar bears similarly to their brown counterparts are opportunistic omnivores.

Rick C
Reply to  griff
January 1, 2022 1:15 pm

Really, I thought that when you adopted a polar bear through the WWF they had volunteers acquiring and distributing seals (that died of natural causes, of course) to the poor starving baby polar bears they show in their commercials. Who knew that PB’s were capable of hunting and killing reindeer and caribou? That would make them apex predators or something.

Dudley Horscroft
Reply to  griff
January 1, 2022 8:10 pm

Yes. But I don’t think that the Vegans would appreciate being fed to the bears./sarc

James Bull
Reply to  griff
January 2, 2022 7:30 am

I have always wanted to go into a vegan restaurant and order the meat option as the veggie brigade are always complaining about the limited options at restaurants. Just something simple like bacon OH what would the smell do?

James Bull

Reply to  James Bull
January 10, 2022 11:39 am

You are perhaps referring to the revelation that some of the trendiest vegan restaurants had secret meat menus and private meat dining rooms

Jim G.
Reply to  griff
January 2, 2022 4:26 pm

VREs, Vegans Ready to Eat.
The polar bear equivalent of MREs.

December 31, 2021 6:13 pm

Back when I was in graduate school PHD meant Piled Higher and Deeper, I guess that’s still true…..

Reply to  Yooper
January 1, 2022 6:24 am

As a non American I always thought that PHD referes to Biden and means Pervert has dementia.

Reply to  Yooper
January 1, 2022 7:13 am

Canadian writer Stephen Leacock best described the PhD:

The meaning of this degree is that the recipient of instruction is examined for the last time in his life, and is pronounced completely full. After this, no new ideas can be imparted to him.

Reply to  PaulH
January 1, 2022 11:47 am

It’s a good joke. The significant output of productive Phd’s is behind much of modern productivity. It’s more a matter of learning HOW to understand the world around us and HOW to apply findings from it to benefit others- even if they are “wicked” enough to make fortunes at it.

James Bull
Reply to  PaulH
January 2, 2022 7:26 am

My company runs a graduate scheme, I find they come in two sorts.
1- I’ve been to university and there’s nothing you can teach me.
2- I’ve been to university learnt a lot and now need to know how things really work.
The first group tend to get promoted and come back later as managers with the same attitude, try and shift blame and are totally risk averse.
The second group learn how things stand in the company and get themselves a job elsewhere unfortunately

James Bull.

Ron Long
December 31, 2021 6:17 pm

It’s an easy choice between the observations of Henry Anderson-Elliot and Dr. Susan Crawford. “Omnivore” is the key phrase here, bears of whatever color eat anything.

December 31, 2021 6:21 pm

Bearing in mind that polar bears share common ancestry with brown bears, and have adapted to an arctic environment, I’d say they have had this ability for quite a few thousand years

Tom Halla
Reply to  Sparko
December 31, 2021 6:27 pm

Yeah, polar bears and brown bears are as closely related as coyotes and wolves. So one would expect the same behavior range out of either, that having one set of stereotypic behaviors does not mean that they could not extend their range of behavior.

Reply to  Sparko
January 1, 2022 1:22 am

Lol, the irony is superb.

So much focus on the fate on the highly adaptive polar bear, who’s numbers are clearly increasing which is a reflection of the diversification of feeding habits.

The greenies have not battered an eye lid at the shear amount of garbage in the photo in what is supposed to be a pristine environment. Pollution from all that garbage is a far biggest risk to those polar bears than supposed dwindling ice! (with legal hunting being the biggest risk to a polar bear, I still can’t believe they issue quotas for such an at risk species!)

Reply to  WelshWizard
January 1, 2022 11:51 am

Legal hunting is needed partly to protect the human population and to also keep the bears in sync with the landscape that feeds them. Right now that territory is limited in what it can support. It’s likely to get colder and the bears will have more opportunities.

Alexy Scherbakoff
December 31, 2021 6:26 pm

A species whose fate, even in the distant reaches of their Arctic landscape, is inexorably bound to our own.’

alastair gray
Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
December 31, 2021 6:40 pm

No Not really! Pretentious verbose nonsense

Reply to  alastair gray
December 31, 2021 7:17 pm

“Pretentious verbose nonsense”

‘Horseshit’ would be better, but you’re just too polite, alastair.

Reply to  H.R.
January 1, 2022 7:08 am

H.S. rather than B.S. was a more common comment of the High Plains resident.

Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
December 31, 2021 7:42 pm

…. well, it would be inexorably bound to his own fate if he met one up-close.

One can only hope.

December 31, 2021 6:36 pm

Climate change makes me read WUWT.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Alan
January 1, 2022 2:26 am

I used to sort of, almost, believe in AGW- until I read WUWT.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Alan
January 1, 2022 10:17 am

Love your comment, resemble it, and am in violent agreement with it.

Although to be completely accurate, climate change “alarmism” makes us read WUWT

Pat from kerbob
December 31, 2021 6:39 pm

It’s hard to imagine anything dumber than this article.
Bears of all stripes are opportunists, further south the garbage dumps have to be heavily ring fenced to keep on the black bears.

They don’t go there because climate change. They go because there is food there and it doesn’t move.

Sounds gross to us but they are happy to eat a carcass that has been rotting for a couple weeks, tenderizes it, so the smells of a dump are heaven to them.

I think even experienced polies are only successful ~25% of hunts so if food is just laying there.

And there must be a lot of these dumps as there are an awful lot of fat bears out there these days?

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
December 31, 2021 6:45 pm

It’s hard to imagine anything dumber than this article.

Joe Biden has entered the chat

(sorry, but you guys keep feeding me these lines!)

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 31, 2021 7:46 pm

I would’ve taken Kerry ahead of Biden.

There are boxes of rocks that are smarter than that useless cretin.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 31, 2021 8:39 pm

The joke’s on you! Biden isn’t smart enough to enter chat!

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
January 1, 2022 2:29 am

I see a solution of where to ship all our garbage- and get more polar bears too.

Reply to  Pat from kerbob
January 1, 2022 6:26 am

Every predator is an opportunist by default.

December 31, 2021 6:45 pm

WhooHA HA HA! Yes, we all know that the carnivores that scour the Arctic Tundra and snow fields for a meal were all very picky eaters before man came along. They often turned their noses up at a putrid many weeks old whale carcass that washed up on the shore.

December 31, 2021 7:19 pm

Wild animals eat what’s available, they’re all opportunists. If/when they have choices they make them depending on how hungry they are. Garbage to us may be haute cuisine or life saving to them.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 31, 2021 9:48 pm

It’s like the guy is completely out of touch with bear behavior. Is actual research off the table at Cambridge these days? First and foremost bears (of all types) are browsers and scavengers. You can almost see them grinning with glee when they happen upon free food. I’ve see as many as a dozen black bears joyously, even convivially congregating at a garbage dump.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
January 1, 2022 11:27 am

Is actual research off the table at Cambridge these days?

Not just at Cambridge.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  TonyG
January 1, 2022 3:09 pm

🙂 … I’m shocked, I say … shocked!

December 31, 2021 7:25 pm

That’s because they may use more energy to find the eggs than they get from eating them. 

Why is this idea wrong for polar bears eating bird eggs but works when humans build wind turbines?

Actually they just need Climate Models – they can create energy from nothing.

December 31, 2021 7:40 pm

It might be due to some form of real climate change, but it doesn’t have anything to do with carbon dioxide bogus climate change.

December 31, 2021 7:55 pm

“Sir, do you have a valid reason to be exceeding the speed limit by 57 km/h, in a 45 km/h school zone?”

“Yes officer, climate-change made me do it!”

Reply to  WXcycles
December 31, 2021 8:31 pm

That is the optimum speed for my car emissions and I was saving the planet. Remember no sacrifice is to much to save the planet.

Reply to  LdB
January 2, 2022 2:27 am

This truck driver knows that won’t work. I mean when I get a good roll going down hill I’m obviously saving fuel. The faster I go the more fuel I save because that extends how far I coast up the next incline with the momentum I gained on the down slope. But I’m sure that argument won’t mean a thing to the officer that pulls me over.

Reply to  WXcycles
January 1, 2022 6:05 am

Officer, my SUV did it. I was just captive for the ride.

Officer: Well I’ve heard that one before and I guess it’s the new normal. You can go try to get that SUV to be a little more responsible. There may be children present someday.

December 31, 2021 8:09 pm

So, too many Polar Bears means the climate is in collapse and we are all goiung to die in a fiery flood. Got it.

Reply to  2hotel9
December 31, 2021 8:35 pm

….. the Walrus said as the documentary drone buzzed overhead and they stampeded over the cliff.

Clyde Spencer
December 31, 2021 9:01 pm

Decades ago, when I was in Point Barrow, they still used burn barrels and there was little left for the polar bears. Perhaps they have now gotten ‘civilized’ and just dump their garbage. Bears are smart and adaptable animals. If there is anything edible, they will find it!

Chris Hanley
December 31, 2021 9:05 pm

Polar Bear eats deer in Ontario Zoo and walks away well satisfied.
There is nothing happening in the Arctic climate-wise that hasn’t happened before in living memory.
Incidentally according to models dangerous human-caused global warming aka ‘climate change’ plus strong positive feedback is supposed to be most marked at the surface in polar regions (T change associated with doubling CO2), in which case the above Arctic surface temperature trend configuration seems most unlikely.

Clyde Spencer
December 31, 2021 9:09 pm

Bear in mind (pun intended) that this is from The Conversation, where young academics who have difficulty getting published in respectable journals, find that they can get published as long as they espouse the alarmist view.

Rory Forbes
December 31, 2021 9:39 pm

When did Cambridge start producing such utterly stupid graduates? Bears are very bright, but somewhat lazy. If a human garbage dump is available, bears won’t hesitate to include it into their range … a high calorie, low effort meal. It has nothing to do with the climate. Wherever there is edible refuse, bears will be in seventh heaven. This has always happened.

December 31, 2021 10:41 pm

I wonder if these researchers considered that the polar bear population has tripled over the past several decades, which would likely put them in more frequent contact with humans and their dumps? But no. That might lead them to consider that mild warming of the Arctic might beneficial (more bears!). That would apostasy to an eco-theologist, so ‘climate change’ must causative and always bad. Lol
Here in central Arizona we are having another gorgeous evening (its raining here and snowing in the mountains!) thanks to ‘climate change’.
Everyone have a great new year!

December 31, 2021 11:37 pm

Bears don’t scavenge garbage dumps because they are desperate, they do it because they love the aroma, like rotting carcasses

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Joe
January 1, 2022 10:28 am

It can be argued that polar bears benefit greatly from the availability of garbage dumps. Apart from the obvious, the secondary effect is more offspring. Bears are not naturally gregarious, tending to limit their opportunities to mate … but the reverse is true at these sites. Where there is such plenty, it’s party time.

Phillip Bratby
December 31, 2021 11:43 pm

PhD students aren’t what they used to be.

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
January 1, 2022 12:03 pm

Phd’s are piled higher and deeper until they fall over spontaneously.

Gunga Din
December 31, 2021 11:59 pm

Guess I should take down my bird feeders.
I’ve made them “opportunist”.
Wild animals will feed on whatever takes the least effort.
Polar Bears – “Hmmm? Should we spend hours swimming around looking for a seal or check in at the trash bin that always has something to eat?”
Nothing to do with CAGW.
Wild animals will feed where the pickings require the least effort.

Reply to  Gunga Din
January 1, 2022 3:35 am

According to the gist of the article’s claim of making the bears “opportunists” I guess man’s agricultural practices have made nearly all wild animals “”opportunists”. Deer, bear, turkeys, song birds, etc. love a soybean field. Corn fields work pretty good too. It’s amazing at the “opportunists” visiting my clover and wheat patch.

January 1, 2022 12:10 am

I thought this just reflects the larger numbers of bears around these days.
Plus anything that climate loons become aware of for the first time must be a sign of climate change or they would have noticed it before. Yawn.

January 1, 2022 12:36 am

and it is, because the annual more rapid retreat of the ice to greater distance means there are more of them on shore for the summer.

Reply to  griff
January 1, 2022 1:00 am

They are NORMALLY on shore for part of the time during the summer, you continue to ignore this every time you pretend to read these Polar Bear article posted here.

How did the Polar Bears survive the little to no summer ice for hundreds of years at a time during the early part of the Interglacial period?


You have been told this many times by me your ignorance is a lie.

Reply to  griff
January 1, 2022 1:37 am
Reply to  griff
January 1, 2022 3:25 am

A genuine question for you, Griff: why do you persist in making demonstrably false statements time and time again? Do you actually enjoy being laughed at?

Komerade Cube
Reply to  Graemethecat
January 1, 2022 7:11 am

Griff is a paid shill for the CCP.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  griff
January 1, 2022 5:55 am

You and the author betray your lack of experience with nature, especially with observing how hunting among wild animals works. City dweller born and bred I expect. Wild animals have a bred in instinct to analyze the cost/benefit in food sources.

Ask yourself if a bear would rather munch on an already dead, unmoving meal, even if a little ripe, or would it expend energy locating, stalking and killing fresh prey especially if there is no guarantee of success?

All wild animals do this every day during their whole life. They pass it on to their progeny through learning and DNA. This is what baiting is all about when hunting. It is what every hunter does when deciding where game is likely to be located. You go where the MEAT is.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Jim Gorman
January 1, 2022 10:01 am

Speaking of which, I remember reading a story years ago about a freight train crossing the mountains in Montana(?) that derailed and dumped its load of corn. After getting the train back on the tracks, workers with shovels cleaned up as much corn as was practicable. However, they missed a lot under bushes, between rocks, and in crevices. Grizzly bears soon found the corn and had a picnic cleaning up what was missed. For years after that, sows would bring their cubs back to the spot hoping that there might be a renewed supply.

Almost like a four-legged Cargo Cult.

January 1, 2022 1:20 am

Point of order sir: Anderson-Elliot received his PhD earlier this year, which goes to show how easy it is to get a PhD from Cambridge.

Reading through bio:

His work learns a lot from the expanding discipline of the Environmental Humanities, exploring the numerous and interconnected ways that humans and wildlife coexist in the Anthropocene epoch. He is interested in the social, cultural, and political dimensions of willdife conservation: how we as humans come to value and promote different visions for what ‘conservation’ itself should look like, achieve, as well as the species/ecologies/spectacles that we hope to make live or let die.

Ah! That’s how he was awarded a PhD: he’s an activist

Then there’s this:

Henry’s research interests also include the novel ecologies and surreal choreographies of species in captivity – the extraordinary work that we do to keep them alive, to make them reproduce, and the roles that they play in our societies, imaginations, histories, and stories about the world.

I’d like to see him make a reluctant bear have sex

The roles that they play in our societies? Seriously? When was the last time anyone invited a polar bear family for breakfast at Tiffanies?

It gets worse. His thesis was

the history and politicisation of the polar bear science discipline; the scientific methods of polar bear monitoring; the work of film and photography in narrating polar bears; and the role of captive polar bears in choreographing particular imaginations of the future.

Good grief

Reply to  Redge
January 1, 2022 2:11 am

Definite BBC material here.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Redge
January 1, 2022 2:40 am

“His work learns a lot…”

My high school English teacher wouldn’t have liked that.

surreal choreographies of species in captivity
“animals in zoos”
There, fixed it.

Reply to  Redge
January 1, 2022 3:10 am

A clear indication of the decadence of Western Universities.

George Daddis
Reply to  Redge
January 1, 2022 8:13 am

It appears to me that PhDs are now awarded for opinion, not fact.
Analogous to the 1619 Project being confused with actual History.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Redge
January 1, 2022 10:08 am

I’d like to see him make a reluctant bear have sex

It might be more entertaining to watch him try to prevent a polar bear boar from mating with a sow! He could dress up in a white, furry suit and pretend to be a competing male. He could try to dissuade the bear with his flowery academic vocabulary.

I think that the whole situation reflects on how detached academia has become from Nature and reality.

Reply to  Redge
January 1, 2022 10:10 am

the history and politicisation of the polar bear science discipline;

And just who was that chucking them off skyscrapers and frightening the kiddies?

Anyhow we should all be in tune with nature and bear in mind how they have a strong preference for ICE cars but they make lousy drivers-
Bear In Colorado Trashes Car, Enjoys Snacks – YouTube
I doubt EVs with Autopilot are going to change that.

Ed Zuiderwijk
January 1, 2022 1:59 am

Henry’s brain is addled. By climate change, I presume.

Ireneusz Palmowski
January 1, 2022 2:07 am

Havre, MT Weather Conditions
Current temperatures (F) in Montana and North Dakota.comment image

M Courtney
January 1, 2022 2:54 am

According to PHD student Henry Anderson-Elliott, the uptick in photos of polar bears scavenging trash dumps or hunting land animals is likely because of climate change.

I suspect the change is more due to the increase in phones with cameras.

Reply to  M Courtney
January 1, 2022 4:13 am

I suspect the change is more due to the increase in phones with cameras.

On my first reading I thought that you might be referring to the alleged harm to the brains of mobile phone users.

Climate believer
January 1, 2022 3:00 am

 “the uptick in photos of polar bears scavenging trash”

Proof of that? all I see is recycled images of one event that happened in 2019 in the town of Belushya Guba on Novaya Zemlya.

Nothing to do with climate but everything to do with dumb humans piling up huge amounts of trash and then being surprised it has attracted bears to their town.

As is often the case with these climate activists they love recycling old stories like it’s something new…… it ain’t.

Reply to  Climate believer
January 1, 2022 4:08 am

Climate believer,

From your link:

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.

Tidy up the trash and burn it might also be a good solution.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Philip Mulholland.
January 1, 2022 10:19 am

Bears in national parks have been a problem for decades. I have long advocated two simple solutions:

One day a year, allow only hunters with dogs in the park to re-instill the bear’s fear of humans and dogs;

Place some old junker cars in the parking lots, bait them with something with a strong, attractive odor, connect the car to a fence charger, and wet down the ground around the cars so that the bears have a low-resistance contact with the ground.

Bears are very smart animals. I imagine that they would only need one electrifying experience to learn to avoid ripping doors off cars.

George Daddis
Reply to  Climate believer
January 1, 2022 8:17 am

We used to vacation regularly in the NY Adirondacks in the 60’s.
The youngsters would always insist on spending an hour or two watching the bears a the dump.

January 1, 2022 3:54 am

Lots of huffing and puffing on here about the stupidity of complaining about bears on waste dumps, but nothing about the disgrace of the dump itself, especially noting the article above this on the impact of waste.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Prsy
January 1, 2022 10:09 am

No one thinks open access waste dumps are a good thing, that is taken as an obvious thing by all.
Except maybe you?

Therefore the point of this post is to make fun of idiocy that arises from it.

Barry James
January 1, 2022 4:12 am

When their numbers exceed what their normal food supply can provide…….

January 1, 2022 4:29 am

I worked in Yellowstone Park in the early 60″s. On several occasions we went to West Yellowstone Montana in the evening and early night. Outside the town was a dump where nightly a large group of Grizzlies gathered to forage. Was that due to climate change (no mention of a climate crisis back then). BTW we saw some incredible battles among them, even watched a car windshield get smashed by one of them.

Climate believer
Reply to  Mac
January 1, 2022 11:40 am

Yes it would seem very strange to find Polar bears not taking advantage of a “free” meal like that, whether it’s a waste tip or a beached whale.

An animal that has survived inter glacials knows what the score is when it comes to survival, this is not a fragile creature.

January 1, 2022 6:39 am

So…… polar bears are only supposed to eat walruses? Is that it?

I was under the impression that all bears are omnivores and will eat anything that builds up their fat layers. An example is American grizzlies hiking up mountains to find moths, which are full of fat, so that they can eat the moths and gain more weight for oncoming seasonal hibernation. No walruses nearby anywhere, no caribou but there are deer if a bear wants to bring one down. Also, Russian bears have been filmed eating flowering plants (among other vegetation), in the spring and summer, and bears over here do the same thing. Anything that fills out the need for extended fat reserves is welcome.

Maybe what these observers need to do is have a wider view of bears as omnivores and stop trying to outguess Mother Nature? Maybe they should get out of the lab environment and spend some time in a Snowcat while hungry polar bears are trying to get inside to add Hooman Research Persons to their diet. 🙂

January 1, 2022 7:00 am

I think, polarbears and also a lot of other animals are oppurtunist, if there is an offer of easy food .
Btw, the reason is not CC, but civilisation and it’s
follow up.

Komerade Cube
January 1, 2022 7:05 am

>>reinforce the need for further peer-reviewed research <<
== “send more money”

Joao Martins
January 1, 2022 7:38 am

I wonder what passed in the mind of the author’s cat when it was lazily reclined over the desk and reading what he was typing when preparing the manuscript: “Idiot! Why spend that much energy chasing reindeer when it is so simple to go to your bowl and find the food that those cretin bipeds have thrown there? Do those fools think that carnivores are dumb, or what?”

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Joao Martins
January 1, 2022 9:16 am

Lots of truth in that. Remember dogs have owners, cats have staff.

Adrian Mann
January 1, 2022 9:17 am

Uptick? Seriously? What’s wrong with ‘increase’?

Al Miller
January 1, 2022 9:55 am

Wow! And I thought you had to be smart to get a Phd…

Reply to  Al Miller
January 10, 2022 12:00 pm

Long time back I admired PhDs because I thought they knew a lot. Then I went to college and admired them because they put up with a lot. Now I just wonder why they let it pile up in the lot.

Rud Istvan
January 1, 2022 9:56 am

There was a two year summer study of the West Hudson Bay polar bear subpopulation, done IIRC about 2012. Estimate was that about 15% of the annual diet calories were consumed on land in summer. Eggs, an occasional caribou, even some plants (berries). Is normal behaviour. Seals are main food source, not only food source. Like Alaska grizzlies main food is salmon, but not only food.

January 1, 2022 10:05 am

At the dawn of polar bear civilization, they were hunter-gatherers living in small family groups that spent a large portion of their waking moments foraging for food. Over time they discovered simple agricultural methods and learned how to domesticate animals that provided a reliable source of high calorie protein and fat, primarily fish and aquatic mammals like seals. Growing crops was not realistic because the growing season at high northern latitudes is extremely short but aquatic farming drastically reduced the amount of time required for caloric sustenance.

With their newfound free time, polar bears began to explore other modes of invention and entertainment, leading to a highly sophisticated culture where specialization and trade became possible. Some were primarily devoted to food production while the majority provided other services though barter like child care, education, den construction, transportation, art, entertainment, etc. With the surfeit of leisure time, a class of indolent bears emerged devoted primarily to satiating immediate cravings like hunger, sex, and intoxication, wholly divesting themselves of any sort of productive behavior that involved delayed gratification and self-discipline, like planning, working, saving, and contributing to family groups or the wider polar bear community. Mental illness was rampant among this group, not surprisingly, as thousands of years of polar bear experience demonstrated that indolence leads to mental illness. There is speculation, however, among experts that in some cases mental illness precipitated the degenerate behavior. Research is ongoing.

Polar bears weren’t the only highly evolved mammals on the planet, however. Humans achieved an even higher level of technological sophistication including automation of previously labor-intensive activities facilitated by power production mainly from mining and burning fossil fuels. The climate of earth had achieved a static state where all the forces of nature were ideally balanced until human power production released vast amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, nearly 4 percent of the annual CO2 flux, raising global temperatures over the last century and a half by as much as 0.2° C causing glaciers to melt and retreat, sea level to rise by a precipitous 0.1 mm per year, devastating heat waves, droughts, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, freezing, winter storms and other extreme weather; all of which were unprecedented until humans upset the balance of nature.

Responding to these massive changes in temperature and sea level rise, polar bear civilization rapidly collapsed and they became opportunists again, devoting most of their time to finding food sources that were easy and reliable, like raiding landfills around human cities with their abundant supplies of waste food and even resorting, on occasion, to stealing butchered game stored carelessly by human hunters or attacking their sled dogs. Such is the pitiful state to which polar bears have been reduced thanks to the thoughtless innovation and industry of humans.

January 1, 2022 10:12 am
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Prsy
January 1, 2022 7:21 pm

What struck me was all the wood that was being wasted. If they couldn’t be recycled for some purpose, the boxes would have made good kindling for wood stoves.

To bed B
January 1, 2022 10:23 am

“Churchill (population 1600) has one hotel, a few bars, one supermarket, a fairsized sports complex – and a worldrenowned rubbish tip.

Every year, around the end of July, between 50 and 100 of Canada’s 12,000 polar bears come mooching to the tip in

search of food after their summer semi-hibernation.”

Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), Wednesday 21 December 1977, page 2

To bed B
January 1, 2022 10:30 am

The Australian ibis has become known as a bin chicken in recent times.

“In just a few decades, the Australian white ibis (Threskiornis molucca) has made itself at home in many of Australia’s coastal and inland cities.”

I’m guessing sea level rise from global warming has forced then to do it. Couldn’t be anything else.

Bruce Cobb
January 1, 2022 10:36 am

No self-respecting poley bear would consume the garbage produced by this PHD student.

January 1, 2022 3:47 pm

Scavengers scavenging, hmmm?

Eamon Butler
January 1, 2022 3:56 pm

I think the practice of foraging predates the birth of the author.

January 1, 2022 4:56 pm
Tombstone Gabby
January 1, 2022 5:40 pm

Looking at the photograph – my first thought – wood burning stoves are not allowed. Does anyone know for sure?

Jim G.
January 2, 2022 4:25 pm

I suppose the author is unfamiliar with raccoons.

January 2, 2022 5:19 pm

What am I missing? More polar bears in every location should mean more polar bear sightings in every location. Yes? So the math would look like: MORE BEARS=MORE BEARS. Where is my PhD?

January 3, 2022 1:12 pm

hmmm, I could dumpster-dive or sit for hours (nay days) near that air hole and wait for something to pop up

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