My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Monday, November 12, 2007

Polar bears....

Most populations of polar bears are increasing...

Why don’t polar bears eat penguins? Because their paws are too big to get the wrappers off, obviously. It’s not a joke you hear so often these days, though, because polar bears are now a serious business. They’re the standard-bearers of a tear-jerking propaganda campaign to persuade us all that, if we don’t act soon on climate change, the only thing that will remain of our snowy-furred ursine chums will be the picture on a pack of Fox’s glacier mints.

First there came the computer-generated polar bear in Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth; then that heartrending photo, syndicated everywhere, of the bears apparently stranded on a melting ice floe; then the story of those four polar bears drowned by global warming (actually, they’d perished in a storm).

Now, in a new cinema release called Earth – a magnificent, feature-length nature documentary from the makers of the BBC’s Planet Earth series – comes the most sob-inducing “evidence” of all: a poor male polar bear filmed starving to death as a result, the quaveringly emotional Patrick Stewart voiceover suggests, of global warming.

Never mind that what actually happens is that the bear stupidly has a go at a colony of walruses and ends up being gored to death.

The bear wouldn’t have done it, the film argues, if he hadn’t been so hungry and exhausted. And why was he hungry and exhausted? Because the polar ice caps are melting, thus shortening the polar bears’ seal-hunting season.

Having been up to the bears’ habitat in Svalbard, I do have a certain amount of sympathy with these concerns. To claim, however, that they are facing imminent doom is stretching the truth. In 1950, let us not forget, there were about 5,000 polar bears. Now there are 25,000.

No wonder Greenpeace had trouble getting polar bears placed on the endangered species list. A fivefold population increase isn’t exactly a catastrophic decline.

But never let the facts get in the way of a good story. The doom-mongers certainly won’t. Despite evidence from organisations such as the US National Biological Service that in most places polar bear populations are either stable or increasing, Ursus maritimus will continue to top the eco-hysterics’ list of animals in danger because it’s so fluffy and white and photogenic.

If you’re really that worried about their demise, I’d book yourself a ticket to Churchill, Manitoba, where the evil buggers (about the only creature, incidentally, that actively preys on humans) are so rife they’re almost vermin.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hes sure is right, there is alot of damn polar bears in churchill thats forsure...

7:13 PM  
Blogger Darren said...

Pssst! The reason that polar bears don't eat penguins is because polar bears live around the north pole and penguins live around the south pole. Just so you know...

6:45 AM  
Blogger Cranky or Just A Crank said...

Uh Darren, that was a joke.

7:30 AM  
Blogger Cranky or Just A Crank said...

Next thing Darren will be telling us that a priest, a rabbi and a minster never walk into a bar together.

7:32 AM  
Blogger Darren said...

Hey! It's a common misconception. And of course the priest, rabbi
and minister walked in was one of those feel good "all
religion is good" pot lucks. I hope the rabbi brought kvelta fish.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Lord Kitchener's Own said...

I wonder where he gets the "there were 5000 polar bears in 1950" line? Everything I've ever read indicates we didn't even start actively tracking polar bear populations until the 1970s (MAYBE the late 60s), and that even then all those numbers had to be revised in the 80s when new data led us to realize we didn't do a very good job in the 70s.

I know Wikipedia isn't the most scientific source, but it's easily linked to:

"Because of the inaccessibility of the arctic, there has never been a comprehensive global survey of polar bears, making it difficult to establish a global trend. The earliest preliminary estimates of the global population were around 5,000-10,000 in the early 1970s, but this was revised to 20,000-40,000 in the 1980s. Part of this increase may indicate recovery as a result of conservation measures implemented in the early 1970s, but it is principally a revised estimate based on a growing base of data. Current estimates bound the global population between 20,000-25,000. Long-term studies of local populations of polar bears show they have been shrinking in the Western Hudson Bay and Baffin Bay areas, and are under stress in the Southern Beaufort Sea area. In the Western Hudson Bay in Canada, for example, there were an estimated 1200 polar bears in 1987, and 950 in 2007." (emphasis mine, and the site itself has references for the numbers).

So yes, if you take the low end of an estimate no scientist believes any more and the high end of the current estimate, it looks like conservation efforts have led to a dramatic increase from a (totally inaccurate preliminary estimate) 5,000 to a reasonably accurate 25,000. If, on the other hand, you take the low end of the more ACCURATE 70s estimate (25-40,000... so, 25,000) and the high end of the current estimate (20-25,000, so 25,000) it looks like conservation efforts in the 70s and 80s have managed to hold the line at 25,000.

Personally, I find the notion that conservation efforts have, until recently, stabilized the polar bear population around 25,000 individuals worldwide much easier to believe than this notion that the polar bear population has QUADRUPLED in the last 30 years.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Lord Kitchener's Own said...

I also wouldn't use an abundance of polar bears around Churchill as evidence against global warming if I were you.

The reason bears hang around the outskirts of town in October and early November is because they're waiting for the ice to form so they can go out and start hunting again. If the people of Churchill are seeing bears more frequently it could just as easily be argued that this is a result of the bears having nowhere else to go, as they have to wait longer and longer these days for the ice to form, so they can go out hunting. Polar bears are essentially (frozen) sea creatures who live on seals, and to a lesser extent fish. Lots of polar bears on land for long stretches is a better argument FOR increased melting than against it.

If the people of Churchill are overrun with polar bears, one could argue that it's because the population is exploding. However, one could also argue that the bears used to head out onto the ice to hunt much earlier in the season (and return to dry land much later), and that now they're forced to hang around town looking for garbage because there's less ice for them to go out and hunt seals on. The ice comes later and melts earlier, forcing the bears to stay on land (and therefore near town) for much longer stretches of the year, so they get seen more, and become increasingly bold.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Darren said...

If we are forced to be serious, then you are right to question the reference points. It has been only a short time that we have monitored weather or animal populations, but it is equally wrong to assume that the polar bear will not adapt its own behaviour to accommodate for changes in food supply or duration of winter. One can not count on their ability to adapt, but we should curb the doomsday predictions and just stick with the facts.

11:07 AM  
Blogger Lord Kitchener's Own said...

True, there's no reason to believe polar bears won't adapt to global warming. Even thrive. Of course, that should be worrying too. Given that, apparently, polar bears are "about the only creature, incidentally, that actively preys on humans" I think we should be even MORE worried that polar bears may survive climate change. If there's no ice on which they can hunt seals...

... maybe they'll come after US!!!


Damned godless killing machines that they are!


2:47 PM  

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