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Old 11 February 2013, 10:40 PM
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Bear Polar bear populations shrinking?

Comment: There are rumors flying around right-wing circles regarding polar
bear populations. There are a number of links and images surfacing that
state polar bear population numbers are higher today than they were 40
years ago (and they're often associated with the phrase "An Inconvenient
Truth" and are accompanied by an image of Al Gore palming his forehead). I
cannot find any actual data - just right-wing, highly biased websites and
blogs. I'd love to be able to either confirm or debunk this...
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Old 11 February 2013, 10:55 PM
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It kind of depends where you are looking on the planet.
http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/wher...ar/population/

Quote:
The status of polar bear populations has been assessed at both national and international level, and 7 of 19 of the World's polar bear sub-populations are found to be declining in number, with trends in two linked to reductions in sea ice.

Biodiversity - Status and Trends of Polar Bears (2011)
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Old 12 February 2013, 01:48 AM
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A lot of attention has to do with a recent book called "Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye". I have not read it.

Zac Unger is interviewed, by NPR: An Inconvenient Truth about Polar Bears

The gist of it all is that some polar bear populations in some places are doing very well, and are even expanding. Many people want to extrapolate this to the polar bear population as a whole. This a debatable thing to do.

My take: As they lose the ice cap, many will learn to forage in-land to survive. They will survive, but will encounter brown bears this way - mixed breed bears have already been documented. The brown bear population is much larger, so, over time, the polar bear species may gradually be replaced by hybrids.
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Old 12 February 2013, 02:23 AM
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I forgot to mention - this gets attention because it fits a political narrative: The polar bears are fine, so global warming is not happening, or if it is happening, it's not a bad thing after all.
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Old 12 February 2013, 02:52 AM
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Bear

Global warming is all about the bears.
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Old 12 February 2013, 03:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crescent View Post
A lot of attention has to do with a recent book called "Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye". I have not read it.
The author of that book also wrote an article that appeared in the WSJ last week. If the book is anything like the article, I recommend not wasting your time: it was pretty terrible. The data cited was pretty obviously cherry picked; most of it was about how Churchill, Manitoba was seeing so many more polar bears that it used to and that according to one statement by one unnamed person the polar bears were looking better this year than they had in a number of years, which was then contrasted to another quote from anonymous environmentalist about how the poor, poor polar bears looked so painful and thin. This was used as evidence that there wasn't anything wrong with polar bears and any research that showed otherwise was obviously just part of someone's agenda (it didn't actually say anything about climate change or oil drilling, but the implications were there).
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Old 12 February 2013, 03:14 AM
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That Zac Unger story is (well, I want to say idiotic but to be polite) confusing. He wants to do a story on the loss of polar bear habitat so he moved to the 'polar bear capital of the world'? Then he was surprised to find that there are actually a lot of polar bears there? Well, he was a firefighter once so I guess that makes him an expert on bear populations. Even though he seems not to be the brightest bulb around. Honestly, I doubt his story. I don't think he went with any intent on finding the "truth" or "to write the quintessential requiem of how human-caused climate change was killing off these magnificent beasts". That's not to say he's a shill but it looks like he just wanted to write about something thrilling and cool, like his firefighting stories. Except cool.
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Old 18 February 2013, 02:48 PM
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There's a good link on the Polar Bears International website about how this myth has resurfaced: http://www.polarbearsinternational.o...just-wont-quit. It includes a link to a fascinating article by journalist Peter Dykstra, "A sketchy 'fact' about polar bears that keeps going ... and going ... and going" that delves into the origin of the misinformation: http://www.sejarchive.org/pub/SEJour...erpts_Su08.htm.
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Old 23 February 2013, 06:45 AM
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Just watching some TV and they were talking about last year being a record year for cold temps in the North (Alaska) and that this year was predicted to be colder still.

I think the cycle has switched around and we will start hearing about "climate change" bringing on a new ice age like in the 70's-80's.
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