Polar Bear Baby Boom Occurring in Eastern Arctic, Will Media Notice?

May 11th, 2007 2:42 PM

This one is really too funny, folks, and definitely requires all potables, combustibles, and sharp objects be properly stowed (grateful and humorous h/t to NBer dscott).

Despite all the carping and whining by folks like soon-to-be-Dr. Al Gore and his not so merry band of sycophant devotees about global warming killing polar bears, there is actually a baby boom occurring in this species in Canada’s eastern Arctic.

As marvelously reported May 3 by the Christian Science Monitor (emphasis added throughout):

Polar bears are the poster animals of global warming. The image of a polar bear floating on an ice floe is one of the most dramatic visual statements in the fight against rising temperatures in the Arctic.

But global warming is not killing the polar bears of Canada's eastern Arctic, according to one ongoing study. Scheduled for release next year, it says the number of polar bears in the Davis Strait area of Canada's eastern Arctic – one of 19 polar bear populations worldwide – has grown to 2,100, up from 850 in the mid-1980s.

For those keeping score, that’s an almost 150 percent increase in two decades.

The article continued:

"There aren't just a few more bears. There are a ... lot more bears," biologist Mitchell Taylor told the Nunatsiaq News of Iqaluit in the Arctic territory of Nunavut. Earlier, in a long telephone conversation, Dr. Taylor explained his conviction that threats to polar bears from global warming are exaggerated and that their numbers are increasing. He has studied the animals for the Nunavut government for two decades.

Hmmm. So, a local biologist that has studied polar bears for two decades says their population is increasing. How marvelous.

Similarly delicious was how the Monitor took issue with the now famous picture of polar bears floating on an ice floe:

The study by Taylor and his team has received widespread media coverage in Canada, shaking the image of the polar bear as endangered. There are even questions about the famous photograph of a polar bear adrift on what looks like an isolated and melting ice floe. Even scientists who firmly believe that the bears are under threat from climate change say the picture doesn't tell the whole truth.

Polar bears often travel on ice floes, and they can swim "easily" in open water for 60 miles, according to [Andrew Derocher of the World Conservation Union]. "Bears will often hang out on glacier ice or large pieces of multiyear ice. To me that picture looked a little fudged," he says. "But some colleagues of mine said it was legit."

Finally, the Monitor addressed what people who actually live in the Arctic are saying about the polar bear population:

Inuit hunters make their own estimates of the polar bear population based on the number of animals they encounter on their travels. Taylor says scientists have ignored the anecdotal evidence of the Inuit, who say bear numbers were rising. Inuits also report more polar bears wandering into their towns and villages, where they are a threat to children.

"I'm pretty sure the numbers [of polar bears] are climbing," says Pitselak Pudlat, an Inuit hunter and manager of the Aiviq Hunters and Trappers Organization at Cape Dorset, Baffin Island. "During the winter there were polar bears coming into town." His community is north of the bear population studied by Taylor.

Why should we care what he or the Nunavut biologist say when people in Hollywood like Leonardo DiCaprio, Sheryl Crow, and Laurie David say otherwise?