Dispelling The Doomsday Propaganda In DisneyNature’s New Polar Bear ‘Documentary’

From Polar Bear Science

Dr. Susan Crockford

In a move that echoes the collaboration of activist organization World Wildlife Fund (WWF) with Netflix that brought us Sir David Attenborough’s walrus deception in ‘Our Planet’ that I chronicled in my latest book, ‘Fallen Icon’, streaming service DisneyNature has joined with activist organization Polar Bears International (PBI) to create a polar bear ‘documentary’ (called ‘Polar Bear’) that we can tell is propaganda because they’ve chosen to release the “cute and worrying” film on Earth Day (Friday 22 April 2022). In fact, the two films have a producer in common: Alastair Fothergill.

In the case of ‘Our Planet’, WWF bankrolled the film series for Netflix to ensure the content they desired; in ‘Polar Bear’, the tables are turned: DisneyNature is paying PBI for their assistance getting the polar bear film shots and providing their biased content, via money they are calling a research grant. I think you know by now what to expect. However, here are the facts about polar bear conditions in Svalbard, where the film was shot, and some good news from Western Hudson Bay this year, courtesy of Mike Reimer and his team at Churchill Wild. In short, there is still no climate emergency for polar bears: the hype is based on old models that failed spectacularly and new ones which depend on old data and totally improbable climate scenarios (Crockford 2017, 2019; Hausfather and Peters 2020; Molnar et al. 2020).

Svalbard polar bear conditions

In contrast to messages constructed by PBI to promote their ‘polar bears are all gonna die’ rhetoric, spring research in Svalbard, Norway in 2021 showed bears there were thriving: the body condition of male polar bears was stable and litter size of family groups was the same as it had been in 1994 – despite the Barents Sea having lost at least six times as much summer sea ice as Western Hudson Bay since 1979 (Crockford 2022; Regehr et al. 2016). There has been no reduction in population size since 2004 despite this profound loss of sea ice (Aars 2018; Aars et al. 2017) and the premise of the DisneyNature film that polar bear females are ‘suffering’ is contracted by scientific data showing female body condition “increased significantly between 2004 and 2017″ (Lippold et al. 2019: abstract).

Unexpectedly, body condition of female polar bears from the Barents Sea has increased after 2005, although sea ice has retreated by ∼50% since the late 1990s in the area, and the length of the ice-free season has increased by over 20 weeks between 1979 and 2013. These changes are also accompanied by winter sea ice retreat that is especially pronounced in the Barents Sea compared to other Arctic areas. Despite the declining sea ice in the Barents Sea, polar bears are likely not lacking food as long as sea ice is present during their peak feeding period. Polar bears feed extensively from April to June when ringed seals have pups and are particularly vulnerable to predation, whereas the predation rate during the rest of the year is likely low.” [Lippold et al. 2019: 988]

Barents Sea (Svalbard) bear 2018, NPI.

Martyn Obbard and colleagues (2016: 29) said essentially the same thing [that “polar bears are likely not lacking food as long as sea ice is present during their peak feeding period“) to explain why the body condition of Southern Hudson Bay polar bears had not declined in lock-step with sea ice declines in recent years. And I have said something very similar – many times – to explain why summer sea ice decline has not had a devastating effect on polar bears (Crockford 2017, 2019, 2022), a conclusion I arrived at from my review of the polar bear literature (including Obbard’s paper).

Good News from Western Hudson Bay

Below is a report on conditions in Western Hudson Bay in 2021 and 2022 from Mike Reimer at Churchill Wild (with his permission, sent 28 March 2022; my bold). The map above shows the location of the lodges mentioned in his note, with the position of Owl River (in blue) added by me (original here is zoomable).

First off, this marks my 40th year of living and working on the Hudson Bay coast where I have spent tens upon thousands of hours in the wilds in close proximity to the great white bears. I would call myself an “observational scientist” untrained and unpaid to make professional peer reviewed edicts on polar bears but feel I have amassed a considerable amount of first hand “data” over the years.

I only share what I’ve seen each summer at our camps on the coast and do not own nor can afford an expensive helicopter and a dart gun to really “get in there” and closely handle the bears to perhaps gain some scientific type knowledge of their ongoing condition.

So here are the facts as we see them in our polar bear world, again strictly observational opinions gleaned from 40 years on the Hudson Bay and surrounding Canadian Arctic regions, I’m not a scientist, I have merely lived with polar bears most of my life!

We operate our expeditions and set our schedules entirely based on the arrival and departure of the polar bears to & from land as they go through their normal cycles. And for 40 years it has never changed, we can pretty much set our clocks/dates around their quasi migratory habits.

Sometime in the first week of July we will see our first polar bear off the ice at our Seal River Lodge; I facetiously like to tell people it’s always July 10th on the second tide give or take a week. Down at Nanuk our other lodge located 300 klms SE of Churchill we usually don’t see much of them till a few weeks later when the last of the sea ice breaks up which has lately been into August.

As for bears back on the ice dates I would have to pick November 10th,  and again give or take a week. The bears, as you know, spend the summer loafing about waiting for ice and a chance at seals, whales or whatever else might wash up on the beaches (at Seal River location they’ve become adept at hunting belugas from shore).

Strangely enough this year they arrived off the ice in late July and then seemed to disappear leaving us with almost no bear sightings especially at our Nanuk Lodge location. An aerial recon quickly located large groups (as many as 20 in a “gang”) of bears lounging on the beaches in a high state of lethargic non activity because they were simply TOO FAT to move!! That’s correct, too fat to bother wandering about looking for snacks (berries, grasses, birds, carrion) as the summer wore on. These bears went beyond healthy to being downright obese. In all our seasons here we’ve not seen bears in October/November in such extreme cases of healthful chubbiness. The bears were very happy our guests not so much, lol.

Further to this the moms and cubs observed this spring are in excellent shape even producing a set of triplets which we have not had for a while [apparently Wat’chee Lodge also observed a set of triplets near the Owl River…].

I realize the above optimistic sharing’s do not fit the standard party line of doom & gloom for our great white bears so I emphasis again these are only real life observations not scientifically verified facts. But we fully expect our great, great grandchildren to be offering polar bear tours for many decades to come.

To summarize: no marked change in breakup and freeze-up dates over the last 40 years, dozens of bears too fat to move in the fall of 2021 and two triplet litters of cubs in March 2022.

Mike’s mention of news of another triplet litter near Owl River is corroborated by a report on 19 March by photographer Daniel Cox, who donates images and video footage to PBI to assist in their promotion of the polar bear’s predicted doomsday future. See the image copied below from this 1 April 2022 tweet. That’s two triplet litters in 2022 in Western Hudson Bay seen by humans. In that sparsely populated wilderness, how many more triplet litters were there that were not seen?

I would say that this video from 2019 is still relevant:


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, 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 Research 36:1. 1374125. doi:10.1080/17518369.2017.1374125

Crockford, S.J. 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 19 January 2017. Doi: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.2737v1 Open access. https://peerj.com/preprints/2737/

Crockford, S.J. 2019The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened. Global Warming Policy Foundation, London. Available in paperback and ebook formats.

Crockford, S.J. 2022. The State of the Polar Bear 2021. Global Warming Policy Foundation Note 29, London. pdf here.

Hausfather, Z. and Peters, G.P. 2020. Emissions – the ‘business as usual’ story is misleading [“Stop using the worst-case scenario for climate warming as the most likely outcome — more-realistic baselines make for better policy”]. Nature 577: 618-620.

Lippold, A., Bourgeon, S., Aars, J., Andersen, M., Polder, A., Lyche, J.L., Bytingsvik, J., Jenssen, B.M., Derocher, A.E., Welker, J.M. and Routti, H. 2019. Temporal trends of persistent organic pollutants in Barents Sea polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in relation to changes in feeding habits and body condition. Environmental Science and Technology 53(2):984-995.

Molnár, P.K., Bitz, C.M., Holland, M.M., Kay, J.E., Penk, S.R. and Amstrup, S.C. 2020. Fasting season length sets temporal limits for global polar bear persistence. Nature Climate Change 10:732-738.  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-020-0818-9

Obbard, M.E., Cattet, M.R.I., Howe, E.J., Middel, K.R., Newton, E.J., Kolenosky, G.B., Abraham, K.F. and Greenwood, C.J. 2016. Trends in body condition in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the Southern Hudson Bay subpopulation in relation to changes in sea ice. Arctic Science 2:15-32 Doi 10.1139/AS-2015-0027 http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/AS-2015-0027#.VvFtlXpUq50

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. http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/12/12/20160556

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Tom Halla
April 23, 2022 6:11 am

But the models!

Ron Long
April 23, 2022 6:18 am

Another great Reality Check from Dr. Susan. The climate/current circulation/ice accumulation influences on either Ringed Seals or Polar Bear populations would require thousands of years of data to understand the normal variance. For us geologists the 40 years of the observations of Mike Reimer, great as that contribution is, is a time period known as a “popcorn fart”, ie, not very long.

April 23, 2022 6:38 am

Now that disney has been stripped of their “special” governmental status it is time to sue from every f*cking direction. Release the piranhas!

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  2hotel9
April 23, 2022 5:31 pm

Disney hasn’t, only Disney World in Florida.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
April 23, 2022 5:54 pm

Disney is Disney, burn it all down.

April 23, 2022 6:49 am

“polar bear females are ‘suffering’ “

There’s a whiff of anthropomorphism in there

“Cop26 must deliver a pathway to limiting global heating to 1.5C, and help people around the world – particularly women and children, who are often the worst affected”

“Pandemic hits mental health of women and young people …”

“women and those from a BAME background the worst affected… [by gambling]” 

“Austerity effect hits women ‘twice as hard as it does men’ “

Ad nauseam.

From griff’s single reference source: The Guardian.

It makes perfect sense.

Matt Kiro
Reply to  fretslider
April 23, 2022 11:32 am

Just from my own observation, but females seem to gravitate towards climate alarmism quite a bit more than males. I believe it has something to do with the fact that men and women are not the same,

Reply to  Matt Kiro
April 23, 2022 2:10 pm

Question is, does a man change into a woman because of their belief in climate change..

Mumbles McGuirck
Reply to  b.nice
April 24, 2022 6:02 am

No, it just makes them better swimmers. 😉

Reply to  fretslider
April 24, 2022 4:32 pm

At least the bears aren’t addicted to gambling.

April 23, 2022 6:58 am

Dang! That photo of mama bear and the tree cubs is t-o-o-o cute!

That photo can be used for good or evil, depending on the accompanying narrative. With no narrative, the photo tells me that mama has been livin’ large to be able to produce and rear 3 cubs.

Reply to  H.R.
April 23, 2022 9:58 am

Tree cubs? Where the ‘h’ did it go? Oops!

Matt Kiro
Reply to  H.R.
April 23, 2022 11:29 am

That trailing cub looks awfully small compared to the other two. Might be the camera angle, hope all three make it.

April 23, 2022 7:13 am

The arctic sea ice is still in decline – in extent, volume, thickness and age.

That can only have an adverse effect on the polar bear population

Reply to  griff
April 23, 2022 7:20 am

“That can only have an adverse effect on the polar bear population”

Why not read the article, griff?

For example “…body condition of male polar bears was stable and litter size of family groups was the same as it had been in 1994 – despite the Barents Sea having lost at least six times as much summer sea ice as Western Hudson Bay since 1979 (Crockford 2022; Regehr et al. 2016). There has been no reduction in population size since 2004 despite this profound loss of sea ice (Aars 2018; Aars et al. 2017) “

No adverse effect detected

Reply to  fretslider
April 23, 2022 9:13 am

Maybe polar bears thrive in warmer conditions?


Reply to  fretslider
April 23, 2022 3:45 pm

Griff can write, but can he read?

Gerry, England
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
April 25, 2022 6:29 am

Only the Bill Gates Guardian…

Reply to  griff
April 23, 2022 7:43 am

All three of your claims are factually incorrect

2022 Sea Ice Volume increasing over last few years http://polarportal.dk/fileadmin/polarportal/sea/CICE_curve_thick_LA_EN_20220422.png

2022 Sea Ice Extent currently greater than last 9 years

Declining ice adverse effect on polar bears?
 Despite the declining sea ice in the Barents Sea, polar bears are likely not lacking food as long as sea ice is present during their peak feeding period. Polar bears feed extensively from April to June when ringed seals have pups and are particularly vulnerable to predation, whereas the predation rate during the rest of the year is likely low.” [Lippold et al. 2019: 988]

You continue your tradition of being ignorant of the relevant scientific literature on the subjects you opine on. I have learned so much from Dr Crockford because I care about the subject matter enough to read her research and others in her field. I care enough to check the state of ice before making comments based on what I think it might be.

Unlike most people here, you continuously demonstrate that you do not care about the environment enough to waste 3 minutes reading the relevant research.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  griff
April 23, 2022 7:56 am

No it isn’t. Arctic summer ice has been stationary for the past decade. Last year’s summer extent was over 4 million sqkm, as opposed to ‘predictions’ of, eh, zero.

Reply to  griff
April 23, 2022 8:02 am

These bears should move south and join their cousins….their fur will turn brown in time…their diet could be enriched by some vegetative matter too…..survival of the smartest dumb bears.

Dave O.
Reply to  Anti_griff
April 23, 2022 8:35 am

There are parts of the U.S. right now (North Dakota) where polar bears would feel at home.

Bryan A
Reply to  griff
April 23, 2022 8:31 am

Thin Ice causes the Seals to move to land and the bears follow

Climate believer
Reply to  griff
April 23, 2022 8:32 am

“large groups (as many as 20 in a “gang”) of bears lounging on the beaches in a high state of lethargic non activity because they were simply TOO FAT to move!! “

Facts don’t care what you think.

Reply to  griff
April 23, 2022 9:48 am

Your lies are boring and long out of date because the ice has stabilized to about a flat trend.

Not only that Summer Ice cover isn’t that important to Polar Bears anyway.

Reply to  griff
April 23, 2022 10:55 am

Polar bears don’t like thick ice, just in the spring time we just have.#So it’can’t be better then now for polar bears.
Resp. Artic “warming”:

Reply to  griff
April 23, 2022 2:06 pm

Still nowhere near the Holocene average though, is it griff.

There’s been far less sea ice for most of the last 10,000 years.. and the PB’s survived and thrived.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  griff
April 23, 2022 2:40 pm

griff, you are a text-book example of “invincible ignorance”. Faced with irrefutable evidence you are wrong, you persist in your error.

YallaYPoora Kid
Reply to  griff
April 23, 2022 9:58 pm

Polar bears don’t eat ice Griff or haven’t you heard?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  griff
April 24, 2022 4:09 am

You are a broken record, Griff.

Reply to  griff
April 24, 2022 10:05 am

You still repeat the mantras of a cult, not a science. You need to realize that climastrology is politics and graft (I know, redundant) not science. They don’t even teach climastrologists physics, it might get in the way.

Ed Zuiderwijk
April 23, 2022 7:52 am

You just don’t have females with three cubs if a population is under stress. Then at most one is the norm.

John Hultquist
April 23, 2022 9:38 am

Thanks Susan.
It is always good to hear from you.
And the report from Mike Reimer of Churchill Wild is the sort of thing I would never find during my daily cruse of the media. So, thanks to him, also.

April 23, 2022 10:04 am

Any discussion of polar bear populations must include two salient facts: 1) It used to be legal to hunt them, and now it is not; and 2) Satellite observations of ice extents only date from 1979.

What is the point of all this?

Matt Kiro
Reply to  Michael Moon
April 23, 2022 11:35 am

“What is the point of all this?”

To scare people so they don’t act rationally.

Reply to  Michael Moon
April 23, 2022 2:45 pm

Actually, satellite sea ice observations go back to at least 1972, its just that the Arctic alarmist don’t want you to see that data.. so it remains mostly hidden, and not talked about.

Jeff Labute
April 23, 2022 11:46 am

Endangered polar bears, pregnant men, and scads more unwatchable woke propaganda. I think I’ll watch Cloud Atlas one more time and cancel. Heck, I’ve cancelled before over far less.

Steve Case
April 23, 2022 12:44 pm

Here’s a nearly ten year old story from NPR no less:

The Inconvenient Truth About Polar Bears

John Hultquist
Reply to  Steve Case
April 23, 2022 1:12 pm

Thanks for that link.

Steve Case
April 23, 2022 1:00 pm

Here’s my old post from February 2020 where I posted this:

“Today, polar bears are among the few large carnivores that are still found in roughly their original habitat and range–and in some places, in roughly their natural numbers.

Although most of the world’s 19 populations have returned to healthy numbers, there are differences between them. Some are stable, some seem to be increasing, and some are decreasing due to various pressures.”

The link to the the WWF story where that came from disappeared the next day.

And it’s not on the WayBack Machine.

April 24, 2022 4:31 pm

” These bears went beyond healthy to being downright obese. “
Who said that sugar free, non transformed, non industrial food is healthy?

Paul Blase
April 24, 2022 6:58 pm

Any idea as to what the seal population is doing? Growing, with the polar bears following suite, or shrinking, because conditions are just better for hunting them?

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Paul Blase
April 24, 2022 7:11 pm

Growing as less summer ice means more photosynthesis then on up the chain
More food for all

Warmer is better, but much worse than we suspect

Pat from kerbob
April 24, 2022 7:10 pm

Eventually Griff will find some way to get rid of the bears. It’s clears he’s never going to learn or change his mind.

Should keep an eye on him, dissonance causing his left eyeball to vibrate.

Ireneusz Palmowski
April 25, 2022 12:08 pm

La Niña has implications for slower melting of sea ice in the north.comment image

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