Facts often need context, but in the case of world-wide polar bear numbers it is straight forward: since bans on hunting were introduced in the 1970s numbers have increased from about 10,000 in the late 1960s to an official estimate of 26,000 in 2015. Surveys conducted since then, by those reluctant to report a further increase, report a modest 28,500 bears. When estimates for subpopulations are added to this, the more realistic number becomes 39,000 – that could be rounded to 40,000.
The bottom-line is that despite a reduction in sea ice at the North Pole over this same period, there has been an increase in polar bear numbers.
This is good news that runs contrary to the zeitgeist.
Successful Australian business woman Gina Rinehart reported the increase in polar bear numbers in a lecture she gave to her former girl’s school, and it sent the ‘fact’ checkers at the Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) into a spin resulting in a long essay short on facts and big on snow. How dare Ms Rinehart – who’s profits from mining fund them – have an opinion on bears.
Canadian Polar Bear expert Susan Crockford describes the ‘fact check’ as convoluted and explains how it ignores the many polar bear subpopulations across the Arctic and still fails to refute the 150% increase in bear numbers between 1960 and 1993 and further 56% increase from 1993 to 2018.
For more information download the IPA’s factsheet.
It is interesting how much interest this information can generate at Facebook, the following screenshot was taken 24 hours after posting.
Does anyone think that the “scientific name” for the polar bear; Ursus MARINUS might be a clue?
The eating machines are perfectly capable of swimming serious distances in open ocean water. They are in NO WAY reliant on convenient ice-floes for transport. That much-publicized photo of a lone PB standing atop at pinnacle of an ice floe was supposed to show how parlous was their situation.
Any critter that large and heavy that van clamber up such an ice feature and then balance on top of it, is NOT fading away from malnutrition or exhaustion.
What does a Polar Bear have for lunch?
Whatever it bloody well wants!
A now sadly demised mate of mine worked in the oil industry in those parts for years. Big, white bears on a white snowy background are hard to see. AS Jen noted:: Not seeing the bears for the snow”. EVERYONE who left the shelter of a ship or vehicle went heavily armed or with a heavily-armed escort. Geophysicist and the like are EXPENSIVE items and their loss or damage incurs a LOT of paperwork; much more than losing million-dollar bits of equipment through thin ice.
They are NOT oversized fluffy toys; they are the semi-terrestrial equivalent of the Orca; APEX PREDATORS.
Bloody Walt Disney has a LOT to answer for.
Frank Vardanega says
Not only do the adjust past temperatures down to show a warming trend now the adjust past polar bear population estimates upwards to show a decreasing trend.
Dr Christine Finlay says
Ah the madness of the self-named conservation movement.
Don Gaddes says
It is not the Bear population that is in peril from ‘AGW’.
It is the Human population,(especially in the Northern Hemisphere food baskets,) that are in peril from overall planetary cooling, due to factors such as increased volcanism and wind-blown dust and ice. Carbon Dioxide is taken up by the oceans over a volume/weight threshold of parts per million, (Rankama and Sahama, 1950) The vilification of CO2 by the AGW crowd is blind stupidity as well as intellectual and material fraud.
‘Go forth and multiply’ and exponential consumerism is NOT an option, for finite, (and dwindling) resources.
From the graph it looks as though there is a correlation between polar bear numbers and global warming. Polar bears must cause global warming. Does Gretta kow this?
Sam Treloar says
I have blocked Australia’s ABC from my news feed after they published a “fact check” yesterday discounting Gina Rinehart’s claim that polar bear numbers have risen despite the famous AlGoreRhythms predicting the opposite.
Their ABC went to great lengths to scrape together some cherry-picked ‘statistics’ to back up their position. I can do without their nonsense hyperbole cluttering up my news. We all know that polar bears are doing very well thank you despite the attempts of MSM to cover the facts up.
Keep up the good work Jen!
“Finite resources” seems to ignore the simple fact that plants and animals are NOT “finite” in the long term, but with a bit of basic care, can and do increase. Hence the “Green Revolution” that had NOTHING to do with the current marauding bands of eco-fascists.
As for the “recycling” of other materials, that has been going on for millennia. Recycled metals are often required as smelter-starters before raw ores are added.
I am intrigued by the “economics” of the current “cash for containers” caper running in Australia. First the “Gummint” whacks a 15 cent “eco-charge” on drink containers, oddly enough, not on bottled wine or spirits, imported or not.. Speaking of economics, the annual “take” on booze in this country at state and commonwealth level is spectacular. Add to this, the still substantial tax and excise rake-off from tobacco products, and the numbers appear to be in excess of the annual Health budget. That is some serious “spillage”, right there.
Back to the yarn: Then, at mind-boggling expense, a network of leased buildings full of fancy sorting and counting equipment and staffed by a bunch of people on unknown wages / salaries, spring up all over the place, running seven days a week.
Of course, each container “returned” pays out only TEN of those fifteen cents. To my mind, there is something odd about the sums here.
Now, when I were lad at school, I used to carefully scrounge and save drink bottles and the local corner store would pay a handsome five cents each for them.
These were GLASS bottles and they were batched and RETURNED to the beverage makers, including brewers, for washing, inspection and REFILLING.
Sounds like a plan, no?
Well, the various “Health” authorities weighed in and declared that we were all GUNNA DIE from contaminated, returned glass bottles. Thus was born, the “one-way, no deposit, one way, no return” bottle; (as per the TV jingle). The bottling companies were rejoicing because the HEAVY DUTY bottle-washing machinery, and crews and maintenance techs were suddenly not needed.
The first thing we noticed was that these “new” glass bottles were a LOT lighter and thus more fragile than traditional models. Probably cost the bottling operations half of what they were previously paying AND cut down on transport costs and the scale of the “pre-wash” operations as used when “refilling”.
The next step was the introduction of high-density polyethylene bottles and caps. Lighter and a LOT less prone to breaking and leaving shards of glass all over the place
A LOT of money was tied up in all of these changes, much of which no doubt flowed into the pockets of senior bureaucrats and a few beverage executives. The only long-term environmental saving is in the water used to rinse out the bottles before refilling. Keg-washing lines still seem to operate at breweries. However. modern, stainless-steel kegs are a lot less fragile than a large GLASS “Coke”, etc. bottle.
Richard Bennett says
Perhaps the eco warriors should walk unprotected across the “PB free ice” just to test their theory and if their theory proves incorrect they will doubtless meet their deserved fate.
Steve Bishop says
The respected Polar Bears International organisation reports that based on an aerial survey in 2016, the population of Canada’s Western Hudson Bay polar bears has declined by about 30% since the 1980s, from roughly 1,200 bears to 842. It says the drop is directly related to longer ice-free seasons on Hudson Bay during this same time frame.
It says that in the Southern Beaufort Sea numbers have plunged by about 40% over a 10-year study period from 2001-2010, dropping from about 1,500 to 900 bears.
In October 2019, the Polar Bear Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature – a global authority on wildlife conservation – released an assessment of polar bears.
It said: “Polar bears across the Arctic are up against a huge problem: the loss of their habitat as the Arctic warms and sea ice disappears. The bears need sea ice for moving around, finding a mate and hunting. Until the summer sea ice stops shrinking, their survival is under threat.The number of polar bear subpopulations experiencing recent decreases has gone from 1 to 4. In Canada, polar bears from Southern and Western Hudson Bay as well as the Northern Beaufort Sea have all experienced a fall in numbers. According to scientists, Southern Hudson Bay dropped by 17% and Western Hudson Bay dropped by 18% between 2011 and 2016.
“These polar bears are also showing other signs of climate change-related stress. Because the ice is breaking up earlier there are declines in the survival rates of both young and old bears. The bears are also thinner.
“However, local communities living among the polar bears note the opposite and report increasing numbers across Hudson Bay.”
Polar Bears International agrees, saying residents of many communities in Hudson Bay are seeing more polar bears.
“These two different pieces of knowledge/evidence are easy to integrate: As malnourished bears spend more time on land for longer periods, more are venturing into settlements where they are looking for food, leading to increased polar bear-human conflicts. This is why we’ve stepped up conflict-reduction efforts, working to keep polar bears and people safe.”
“These polar bears are increasingly getting into food caches, entering camps, and posing risks to communities and residents. The observation that “people are seeing more bears in and around sites of human activities” is real evidence of a change from the past conditions northern residents knew.
“Western science-based knowledge/evidence shows that in the Hudson Bay system, polar bear body condition has been declining, bears are having fewer cubs, fewer cubs are surviving after birth, and the population size has declined.
In April 2018 14 climate scientists reported in BioScience that blogs that deny or downplay the impacts of anthropomorphic global warming (AGW) on polar bears aim to cast doubt on other established ecological consequences of AGW, aggravating the consensus gap.
They pointed out that about 80% of these blogs cited Polar Bear Science, by Susan Crockford, as their primary source on the status of polar bears.
They said: “Crockford has neither conducted any original research nor published any articles in peer-reviewed literature on the effects of sea ice on the population dynamics of polar bears…Dr. Crockford has previously been paid by the Heartland Institute for writing reports.”
The Heartland Institute boasts it is “the world’s most prominent think tank promoting skepticism about man-made climate change” and spends millions of dollars in doing so.
Billionaire Gina Rinehart lied in her video to schoolgirls made public this week.
Referring to Al Gore’s film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ she said it was: “Sadly short on delivery as far as truth is concerned, e.g. the sad loss of polar bears when actually their numbers have increased.”
In the immortal words of Mandy Rice-Davis, she would say they, wouldn’t she? Gina owns coal mines and is a fierce opponent of climate science.
Thanks Steve, And what is your estimate in terms of overall bear numbers since the 1970s, or earlier?
Steve Bishop says
In answer to your question, I am not a scientist studying polar bear numbers so any estimate of mine would be of no consequence.
Hey Steve, I’m really disappointed that you have taken the time to attack the credibility of Dr Susan Crockford, and yet you won’t take the time to add up the numbers using the sources you suggest have credibility. I suggest you desist from having an opinion on topics that you are too lazy to research at all.
Michael S says
I often wonder about the “possible” affect of temperature changes on ice.
As many people worry about melting ice caps and glaciers, do they really think about what they are seeing?
The average person looks at pictures of glaciers retreating and starts panicking- “The world is under threat- I don’t need a scientist to tell me, LOOK, I can see it”.
Or can they???
A glacier that is at -30deg C looks exactly the same as one that is at -2deg C.
If the -30deg C glacier was to warm up to 0deg C and melt and shrink- then I would be very worried.
But if the glacier is at -2deg C, and “warms up” by 1-2 deg C, it would start to melt, and I would not worry.
Same with ice on mountain tops, and polar caps.
Glen MICHEL says
Eisbär in German for polar bears do not care foe the 97 percent CO2 that is naturally produced by the biosphere. Time is our wonderful friend. Unfortunately we are dealing with uninformed and deranged people who think humans pose an existential threat.
I’ve wandered about on glaciers in NZ, and North America.
The whole “retreating” thing is misleading.
ALL glaciers melt a bit from the face, but MOST of the “melting” is happening UNDERNEATH. The whole arrangement is analogous to an ice skate, but inverted; with the ice on top.
Furthermore, the entire ice folly is driven from the top. Glaciers are basically frozen “rivers”. Thus, they have a source, known in the trade as the “Neve”. Snow falling in the Neve accumulates and the compacting mass shoves the rest of the glacier downhill, with a little help from gravity.
And here is the catch. If there is no precipitation at the Neve, there is no snow accumulation.
What would cause reduced precipitation?
Reduced evaporation. What causes reduced evaporation?
LOWER TEMPERATURES. Glaciers can only exist in a narrow temperature band. Too Hot and they melt from the top faster than the snow can fall.
Too COLD and the melting at the interface of rock and ice UNDERNEATH the ice, will continue to occur even while the ambient temperature drops.
During the last serious Ice Age, you did not have to worry about glaciers “retreating”. The real menace, apart from the extreme cold, was three-mile thick ice sheets emerging from the polar seas and rampaging (at the proverbial glacial pace), for thousands of kilometres OVERLAND. Check out the scale of North American “Till” fields and the thousands of lakes gouged out in Canada by the ice as it trundled Southward.
The ice not only carried sand and gravel, but also huge rocks, some the size of small apartment blocks and dumped them all over the place. Look up “erratics” (geologically speaking) for more information.
The “cold” has, historically killed al LOT more people than heat. Ice Ages are DRY times; not nice at all, crops fail, wild plant foods die back, game migrates or dies. A real barrel of laughs.