Ask the people in Nunavut about polar bears....
They claim polar bear numbers are increasing...
Polar bears have been wandering into hamlets and chasing children. People in the North have noticed their food caches plundered by the bold carnivores. And some say the thinning sea ice actually makes it easier for the big white seal hunters to catch their prey.
Polar-bear numbers, they say, are on the rise, not in decline.
Those sentiments, some perhaps counterintuitive to the commonly held belief that polar bears are casualties of global warming, have been captured by a new hotline set up in Nunavut to track the whereabouts and behaviour of the critter that has become the climate-change poster child.
“People from the South only hear one side of the story, which is from polar bear biologists or scientists who are using predictions, using computer simulations and we don't agree with that,” said Paul Irngaut, a wildlife adviser with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., who has fielded about 30 calls to the hotline in the past few weeks.
“That's not what we're seeing up there.”