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Polar Bears – Myths and Facts

September 15, 2015

By Paul Homewood  




All due to “melting Arctic ice” of course.


Polar bear expert, Susan Crockford, has already debunked this theory, and pointed out that it is ice cover during spring which is critical, as this is when the bears consume most of their annual prey. Indeed, as she points out, when the ice is too thick, this can also cause problems.

And as we can see from the NSIDC map below, ice extent around Svalbard during spring this year was very little different to the long term average.





This is Savalbard:






If we fast forward to summer, we find that sea ice is never usually close to Svalbard anyway.





Unfortunately, emotive stories such as this one will not be stopped by facts.


Final word to Iain Sterling:


However, some experts have said it shows only a snapshot of the true picture of the Svalbard populations. Iain Stirling, from the University of Alberta, said the bear picture could be sick or old – and is not necessarily dying from the effects of climate change

"You have to be a little bit careful about drawing conclusions immediately," he told Mashable. "[The bear] may be starving, but it may just be old. A difficulty hunting could be involved." Stirling noted that the bear appears to have an injury to one of its hind legs, which could have played a role in its weight loss. I don’t think you can tie that one to starvation because of lack of sea ice."

  1. Jeffery permalink
    September 15, 2015 1:09 pm

    Point of logic: Apparently if the author of the original article is seeing female starving polar bears (the males as usual have oppressed them by taking all the food) on ice around Svaalbard in the summer, the summer ice extent is much greater than usual. Hmmm.

  2. Joe Public permalink
    September 15, 2015 1:39 pm

    Do only ‘healthy-looking’ polar bears die?

    I presume whoever wrote that article has never been inside a mortuary, EPH or geriatric ward, and seen how well cared-for human beings become frail in old age.

  3. September 15, 2015 2:40 pm

    Many don’t understand what holds a predator population in check, and what determines its range: starvation. The hungrier the lion, the greater the risk it will take to eat. If only healthy adult male wildebeests are available but the predator is on the verge of starvation, the pack will attack and risk being gored. Some will die of injuries rather than starvation.

    At the edge of the polar bear range will be found the hungriest bears or, as Crockford notes, where the ice is too thick for seals to maintain their breathing holes. –AGF

  4. September 15, 2015 5:01 pm

    Thanks, Paul.
    I see an old emaciated polar bear doomed to die soon.
    Caused by a very small amount of atmospheric CO2? Not likely.
    Are most polar bears suffering like it? Surely not, as the pictures would be all over the press.

  5. September 15, 2015 7:41 pm

    Other press reports have it that the bear has injured one of her legs, I guess that would slow down anyone and any bear chasing life food.
    Wonder why Greenpeace is not out there feeding the poor thing.

  6. September 16, 2015 10:45 am

    Reblogged this on Petrossa's Blog and commented:
    Polar bears die eventually. Strange but true.

    • September 16, 2015 1:18 pm

      Reminds me of being on California’s Monterey Peninsula in the 1990’s. In a shoreline hiking area a woman rushed up to a friend and breathlessly said: “I’m SO relieved! I just found out that sea otters can die of ‘natural causes’.” Now polar bears? Who knew?

      • September 16, 2015 2:40 pm

        in any case they live longest in captivity 🙂

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