Polar bear sightings and sea ice conditions in Newfoundland & Labrador 2023 vs. 2017

From Polar Bear Science

Susan Crockford

Conservation officials issued an alert to residents of coastal communities to be aware of polar bears coming ashore over the last week in northern Newfoundland and southern Labrador, after a woman photographed a bear outside her home on Tuesday morning (7 March 2023). Since no bears in this subpopulation are tracked with satellite radio collars, we have no idea if there are a few dozen bears — or a few hundred of them — hunting on the ice and available to come ashore when the opportunity arises.

Recall that in April 2017, after more than a dozen bears had been spotted onshore in the region since early March, polar bear specialist Andrew Derocher told CBC Radio that this was bad news for the bears.

In “Changing sea ice bad omen for province’s polar bears: professor,” Derocher expressed a pessimistic view of what this meant about the conservation status of Davis Strait polar bears and why they were so suddenly visible to people on land in Newfoundland:

Although plenty of bears have been spotted wandering onto the island portion of the province in March and April, Derocher said for the most part, they are not there by choice.

“They don’t want to be on land, but what’s happening is they get caught in these filaments of ice that get pushed with wind and currents,” he said.

Filaments of ice” pushed ashore with bears on them? I would suggest that such a means of conveyance would be hard to achieve when coastlines are socked in solid with ice, as shown below.

Here is what sea ice conditions looked like five years ago for the week of March 6, where red is solid concentration ice (9/10-10/10 coverage). In particular, the south coast of Labrador and the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland where the first bears of the season were encountered, were completely ice-bound. I described it that year as a “highway of ice” for polar bears:

For the same week this year, conditions were fairly similar off Newfoundland and Labrador although lighter ice was present in the Gulf:

Later in the season in 2017 (19 April), the ice was even more compact close to land, which means bears could simply walk ashore and have a look around to satisfy their curiosity:

Notice the change in tone of Derocher’s tweet about this year’s sighting:

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Tom Halla
March 12, 2023 4:42 am

That is a bit far south.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Tom Halla
March 12, 2023 11:45 am

Yes it is and it speaks volumes how well the bears are doing.

March 12, 2023 5:04 am

For Doctor Dolittle read Andrew Derocher

Entertaining up to a point, but not scientific.

michael hart
Reply to  strativarius
March 12, 2023 9:21 am

Didn’t Doctor Doolittle “walk and talk with the animals”?
I doubt Mr Durocher has the gumption to do that.

Gary Pearse
March 12, 2023 9:51 am

Basically we have one person in the whole world to stand against the heavily funded polar bear liar establishment and give us the truth (she has also published truth to corrupt power on penguins, walruses, and other polar creatures). This is huge.

Susan Crockford has single-handedly thwarted the evil designs of the climateers for whom bears and penguins were chosen as poster species to achieve Malthusian misanthropic dreams. She has done it at great cost.

So big a deal it was for climate wroughters, that the Polar Bear Group engaged Michael Mann to have Susan fired from her adjunct position as professor at the U of Victoria in British Columbia. Climate Fraud’s most notorious person was successful in this ugly task.

Susan, you are a gentle giant!

March 12, 2023 10:48 am

What boggles my mind is living a stone age life with big furry cute predators roaming the environment.

John Hultquist
March 12, 2023 12:13 pm

Sybil Rose — cute name for a bear. Oh, wait!

Thanks Susan.

March 12, 2023 3:21 pm

Nice report Dr. Crockford.

Coeur de Lion
March 13, 2023 2:38 am

Do read Andrew Montford’s esteemed The Hockey Stick Illusion to see Mann’s sheer nastiness against dissenters and sceptics (‘can we find a better word?’ = ‘denier’) and his campaigns to get dissenting editors sacked. A thoroughly nasty piece of worked but adored by our flaky BBC

March 14, 2023 10:43 am

” ….. back out on the ice where it belongs.”

So where is it to go when the ice melts?

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