Southern Labrador coastal landscape dominated by fat polar bears in March

From Polar Bear Science

Susan Crockford

Recent reports out of southern Labrador highlight how common it is to find polar bears onshore at this time of year. The small coastal community of Black Tickle seems to take the prize for the highest number of incidents and sightings but Happy Valley-Goose Bay is the somewhat surprising contender. [see correction below] Photo below is from Black Tickle.

Since early March, polar bear sightings in Newfoundland and Labrador have been common. The bears, of course, have come south on the Labrador Sea pack ice looking for fat newborn harp seals, which are now so abundant in the region that nearly a year’s worth of food could probably be consumed in a week or so. It appears that already well-fed bears may look around for what else could be added to their menu or just need a break to digest between meals. Photos of some of the bears sighted are all in good or excellent condition, and few of the animals seem to be intent on causing real trouble for locals–a far cry from the bear that wandered off the ice into Wales, Alaska earlier this year and killed a young mother and her infant son.

According to a report today from VOCM News in Newfoundland and Labrador (30 March 2023), the Canadian Ranger who serves as the community ‘polar bear guard’ in Black Tickle has been kept busy this month, which is not unusual.

Jeffrey Keefe, a technician with NL Hydro, is usually focused on ensuring that the local diesel generating station is kept running, but he’s been occupied in recent weeks keeping an eye open for polar bears.

He tells VOCM News he’s counted at least 31 animals which have either passed through the community, or within 2 km of the town on the sea ice.

Keefe, who has been driving polar bears away from the community for the last 23 years, is not worried about the animals, but many people are not too fussy about them getting close.

One bear spent a night in the basement of one family’s house after ripping a piece of plywood off the window, and later startled another resident by pushing against the window glass so hard it broke.

Note how fat the bear is in the video below of Ranger Jeffrey Keefe doing his job:

Previously, Keefe said about the bears he dealt with in Black Tickle back in 2017:

“They look really healthy … they have been eating good, these ones have.”

Looks like this statement would be true this year as well.

Other incidents this year took place almost 300 km away, if I’ve done my homework right. Specialist teacher’s assistant Audrey Hudson, apparently works in Happy Valley-Goose Bay at the end of Lake Melville, far west of the coastal communities that butt up against the pack ice that is polar bear habitat. Turns out I was wrong on this location, see below.

Audrey shared some photos on twitter of two bears that have recently visited close enough to the school to photo through the windows (28th and 29th March).

Although she doesn’t reveal her exact location, Google tells me the phrase “The Big Land” Audrey uses in her tweet refers to Labrador, not the island of Newfoundland, as a story published by the National Post states. I followed a trail of online information on teaching staff and school locations in the region, which suggests Ms. Hudson works in one of several schools in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. However, Ms. Hudson responded to my twitter inquiry and tells me she works in Black Tickle!

However, Even still, seeing polar bears in Goose Bay would is actually not be so surprising, since ‘Lake Melville’ (see map above) is technically a broad fjord connected by a narrow arm to the Labrador Sea and ringed seals (favourite food of polar bears) use the ice on the fjord at this time of year to whelp their pups and mate. But not this time: all of the sightings Ms. Hudson reported on happened in Black Tickle.

The first looks to be a young bear in good condition:

Her follow-up is a magnificent adult male, also in good condition:

Sea ice conditions in the Labrador Sea

As of yesterday (29 March 2023), according to Canadian Ice Services. Black Tickle Island is southeast of Cartwright, which is a coastal community marked on the chart:

Two weeks ago, the ice was just as extensive. Ringed seals in this region prefer shorefast ice less than 2m thick. However, harp seals generally prefer thin first year mobile pack ice (light green) for whelping their pups and mating, and this year most of that ice was further south, off Newfoundland:

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Tom Halla
March 31, 2023 6:37 pm

Abundant seals, and therefore bears, that far south would seem to violate The Narrative.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Tom Halla
April 1, 2023 10:48 pm

Everything violates the narrative, that’s why everything g must be censored

March 31, 2023 7:52 pm

One thing worth noting, not mentioned by climatology, is that climatologists have no training in biosystems.

All that climatologists do today is to analyze model output from GCM/ESMs that are tuned to an expected equilibrium climate sensitivity ECS.

To achieve the expected ECS the models have about 45 parameters for tuning.

The ECS is selected not by the “global climate models” themselves, but by various assumptions, wants, and needs.

The role of modern-day run-of-the-mill (ordinary) climatologists is to disentangle the outputs of the tuned GCMs.

Climatologists have no expertise whatsoever in wildlife populations or humanities.

Reply to  JCM
March 31, 2023 8:12 pm

as a PS

the variations exhibited among the various models is the result of the tuning.

The role of the modern-day climatologist is to explore the consequences of the chosen parameterization, and how it relates to observation. The entire field is totally preoccupied with the tuned outputs.

The total parameterized outputs depend on the tuning, and therefore the ordinary modern-day climatologists have no ability to discuss climate beyond the concept of ECS.

This may help explain why it all seems so strange and disconnected from reality.

March 31, 2023 7:52 pm

Fat Polar Bears are usually happy bears.

Paul Hurley
Reply to  mleskovarsocalrrcom
April 2, 2023 8:50 am

They’re not fat, they’re big boned. 😉

March 31, 2023 11:17 pm

It doesn’t matter how many fat and happy polar bears there are, if they don’t fit the narrative then they will be relentlessly ignored.

nationalgeographic Feb 2018 Polar Bears Really Are Starving Because of Global Warming, Study Shows
BBC July 2020 Polar bears will be wiped out by the end of the century … Scientists say some populations have already reached their survival limits Feb 2023 Polar bears… are now being reduced to nothing but mere skins and bones … . Due to global warming and the rapid melting of Arctic ice, polar bears are dying quickly, and if nothing is done rapidly enough, they may be gone before we even know it.
WWF current IUCN Red List status … International: Vulnerable … Global polar bear numbers are projected to decline by 30% by 2050
PolarBear-World current Is It True That Polar Bears Are Endangered? Yes, it’s true.

William Wilberforce was wrong when he said “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”. He should have said “You may choose to look the other way but you can never honestly say again that you did not know.”.

Dishonesty is over-protected.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
April 1, 2023 3:09 pm Feb 2023 – an article by Chloe Wong, an English undergraduate. Journalists, associations, organizations, all seem to comment that decreasing your carbon footprint, and sending your donations will save the polar bears.

We are literally listening to parrots blurting manufactured lies. Amazing so many take this at face value. It is refreshing to read Susan’s articles.

Also good to see my old stomping ground [Goose Bay] get a mention. 🙂 We were stationed there in the 60’s and my dad is now a retired meteorologist.

Coach Springer
April 1, 2023 4:02 am

Someone get us a new crisis stat!

Baby seals in crisis from predator beasts pushed South by climate. Models predict extinction in coming years.

Alan Robertson
April 1, 2023 5:50 am

How does that old Lefty saying go; “Speak truth to power”?
Thanks for another great dose of the truth, Susan Crockford.
If only those in power were interested in the truth…

Rick Wedel
April 1, 2023 9:13 am

The executive director of the Canada Parks and Wilderness Society – Manitoba Chapter says in letter to the editor in today’s Winnipeg Free Press that, “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that a 1.5 C increase in the global average temperature will put 20-30 per cent of the world’s species at risk of extinction. Canada has already experienced a 1.7 C increase in temperature since 1948 — twice the global average. We must significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, while protecting nature’s capacity to absorb them, in order to prevent a further increase in temperature and avoid the environmental changes that would come with it.”

A recent CBC poll showed that a large majority of Canadians believe in catastrophic man made global warming, and today the Canadian Government significantly increased the carbon tax on all fossil fuels. We are in serious trouble here north of the border. Would one of the commenters here please suggest a good place to start building a rebuttal to this claim that Canada is warming at twice the rate as the rest of the world? Thanks.

Reply to  Rick Wedel
April 1, 2023 9:42 am

Berkeley Earth BEST data shows no net warming in Canada for the last 2 decades.

2022 was the 17th warmest year on record for Canada in BEST, while globally the earth was 5th warmest on record in BEST.

NASA GISTEMP geospatial anomaly map tells a similar story, where the bulk of Canada’s temperature anomaly in 2022 was indiscernible from the 1951-1980 average.comment image

In summary, for the majority of Canada’s population there is really nothing going on at all from a temperature anomaly perspective.

For the bulk Canadian nation, climate change has been on pause for 20 years.

Reply to  Rick Wedel
April 1, 2023 10:29 am

For additional information, Robert Muir has been actively engaging with CBC with respect to their false claims. He was documenting it on his website

However, nothing has improved. The CBC reporter in this recent story was continuously prompting residents in southwest USA to comply with their climate change mission, but they couldn’t find anyone to bite.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Rick Wedel
April 1, 2023 10:56 pm

Hi Rick, been reading all this crap from here in calgary.
First off, it’s not just canada it’s every country in the world. A couple years ago the Scientologists came up with a scam.
The earth is more than half ocean, the air over the oceans warms much slower than over land therefore all countries are warming faster than the global average.
See how that works?

Overall, the accepted number is the earth has warmed 1.1c since preindustrial, all of these fake numbers hide within there.
If land has warmed faster than sea, then sea has warmers much less meaning most of the earth has warmed a fraction of a degree, which is unnoticeable to humans, a statistical anomaly

Tom in Florida
April 1, 2023 2:46 pm

It appears reports of the demise of the polar bears are grossly exaggerated.

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