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Wrangel Island research team counted a record number of Chukchi Sea polar bears in 2020

September 24, 2021

By Paul Homewood


Repost from Polar Bear Science:



Many Chukchi Sea polar bears spend the summer on Wrangel Island and a survey there conducted by Russian researchers in 2020 reportedly collected data on a record 747 bears, well up from the 589 reportedly counted in 2017 by the same team (photo below is from 2015).

Note the latest survey of the Chukchi Sea estimated about 3,000 bears inhabit the region (AC SWG 2018; Regehr et al. 2018), at least 1,000 more that the figure of 2,000 used in recent IUCN assessments and survival predictions (Amstrup et al. 2007; Regehr et al. 2016; Wiig et al. 2015). Wrangel Island is the primary terrestrial denning area in the Chukchi Sea (Garner et al. 1984; Rode et al. 2014) and a recently published study showed that the body condition (i.e. fatness) and litter size of Chukchi Sea polar bears has not been negatively affected by low summer sea ice (Rode et al. 2021).

Full post here.

Just one more piece in the jigsaw that suggests polar bears are actually, contrary to popular myth.

  1. Ian Magness permalink
    September 24, 2021 11:21 am

    I think you missed out the word “thriving” Paul.

    • John Hultquist permalink
      September 24, 2021 5:19 pm

      Paul’s is just testing the reading comprhension of his readers.
      You passed!

      • John Hultquist permalink
        September 24, 2021 5:20 pm

        And I just screwed up with an unwanted ‘s.

  2. Jack Broughton permalink
    September 24, 2021 11:23 am

    No doubt these “good tidings” will be widely reported by our unbiassed news media!

  3. Mike Jackson permalink
    September 24, 2021 11:46 am

    Interesting “gotcha” in the middle of that report that high sea-ice levels around Wrangel this summer MAY have resulted in fewer bears coming ashore. A win-win for the scaremongers again!

  4. Broadlands permalink
    September 24, 2021 1:19 pm

    I thought it was well known that the early decline in polar bears was due to recreational hunting. Once that was restricted the numbers rebounded. Nothing whatever to do with global warming.

    As of 2012:

    “The current scientific consensus places the worldwide polar bear population between 20,000 and 25,000 animals. Prior to the 1973 worldwide restriction on commercial polar bear hunting, that number was dramatically lower, so low that a meeting of polar bear specialists in 1965 concluded that extinction was a real possibility. Some reports even estimated the number of bears as low as 5,000 worldwide. Yet by 1990, Ian Stirling — at the time, the senior research scientist for the Canadian Wildlife Service and a professor of zoology at the University of Alberta; basically, one of the most respected polar bear scientists on the planet — felt comfortable answering the question as to whether polar bears are an endangered species by stating flatly: “They are not.”

  5. Plowjogger1776 permalink
    September 26, 2021 10:38 pm

    And the link on the number of bears still says at the end that sea ice disappearing in the Arctic and that is the biggest danger to the bears. SMDH

  6. September 29, 2021 8:42 pm

    What abt harp seals? Has anyone put a cash bounty on them to stop their population explosion?

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