Polar bear worries unproven, expert says



Polar bears are becoming the poster-species for "doomsday prophets" of climate change, even though groups pushing for higher protection for the animals don't have the evidence to prove their case, Nunavut's manager of wildlife says.


Taylor noted the estimated number of bears on the Boothia Peninsula, 1,300 kilometres west of Iqaluit, has actually increased to 1,500 animals from 900. He said environmental groups don't seem to want to take information like that into consideration when pressing their case.

"Life may be good, but good news about polar bear populations does not seem to be welcomed by the Centre for Biological Diversity," he said.

And I suppose he is right about the "poster-species" status of polar bears as posted on Suzuki's site in the "species at risk" section.



A receding Arctic icecap and earlier than normal breakup of sea ice has affected polar bears, which depend on sea ice to hunt seals. Recent studies showed polar bears in some regions were down a third in body weight. The latest generation of seals was also found to be much thinner than usual.


Why would the seals be thinner....I don't know. Maybe it's because there aren't enough polar bears to eat?
Seals are thinner due to declining fish stocks thanks to us catching everything in the damn ocean in order of "yumminess" that's why people now have to pay good money for stuff that was once considered "garbage Fish" (see the "tillapia" fish, and then think about how long it'll be before you can buy Goby fillets)

So that's part of the reason for the thin seals, and if our fishing species to extinction (or in the case of stuff like Tuna, to the point where we would have to leve 'em alone for a few hundred years so that larger individuals are once as common as they were say 200 years ago) is a conspiracy theory I have a BUNCH of hats I'll gladly eat... wonder what Ann Coulter will have to say to "debunk" that fact


Some bluefin may reach maturity as early as four years of age or 25 kg in size but the main spawning component involves fish of 10 years and older. The number of eggs produced range from 5 million for small individuals to 60 million for the "giants" (over 15 years of age).

Early development of the eggs and larvae is rapid. The eggs, buoyed by an oil droplet, float just below the water surface and hatch within a few days. During this time they are prey to many fish and invertebrate species. Within three months, the young bluefin can weigh more than a half kilogram and by the end of their first year, 4 kg. For the first four to five years of life they double their weight annually.


Bluefin grow rapidly during their first 12 years or until they reach about 250 cm in length, after which the process slows. There is no difference in the weights of males and females of the same length. However, males tend to grow longer and therefore heavier, while females appear to live longer.

I'm not allowed to say what Ann would say to you.

Since you have a bunch of hats for consumption, do I get to pick the one your going to eat over this? I pick the pinko one.
Jo Canadian
Things are changing for the bears. It may not be an overnight doom and goom as some predict. But they are forced to adapt and change some of their survival habits due to less ice or ice that doesn't last as long.

Ranken Inlet, Baker lake, and Churchill have had more problems lately because of polar bears being more inland looking for alternatives to their habitual diet.

One such recent occurrence: http://sports.espn.go.com/outdoors/g...ory?id=2338668
I had read that article when it came out. That is one brave Mom!
LOL Jay, I said if someone can prove that we have NOT fished the CRAP outta a lot of the more traditional species to the point where even our quotas are just barely enough to sustain a harvest (and largely without consideration of the huge numbers of these fishes needed to support the needs of OTHER populations, since we pretty much catch as much we can without wiping the damn things RIGHT out) THEN I will eat whichever hat you like, but since that is not possible, since oh I don't know, say COD are out and wacky looking garbage like monkfish (dunno what nicer name they made up once they had to start selling it) are IN, then my collection of lids will remain sans manger
I tried!
The Sunday Times - Britain

The Sunday Times December 18, 2005

Polar bears drown as ice shelf melts
Will Iredale
SCIENTISTS have for the first time found evidence that polar bears are drowning because climate change is melting the Arctic ice shelf.

The researchers were startled to find bears having to swim up to 60 miles across open sea to find food. They are being forced into the long voyages because the ice floes from which they feed are melting, becoming smaller and drifting farther apart.

Although polar bears are strong swimmers, they are adapted for swimming close to the shore. Their sea journeys leave them them vulnerable to exhaustion, hypothermia or being swamped by waves.

According to the new research, four bear carcases were found floating in one month in a single patch of sea off the north coast of Alaska, where average summer temperatures have increased by 2-3C degrees since 1950s.

The scientists believe such drownings are becoming widespread across the Arctic, an inevitable consequence of the doubling in the past 20 years of the proportion of polar bears having to swim in open seas.

“Mortalities due to offshore swimming may be a relatively important and unaccounted source of natural mortality given the energetic demands placed on individual bears engaged in long-distance swimming,” says the research led by Dr Charles Monnett, marine ecologist at the American government’s Minerals Management Service. “Drowning-related deaths of polar bears may increase in the future if the observed trend of regression of pack ice continues.”

The research, presented to a conference on marine mammals in San Diego, California, last week, comes amid evidence of a decline in numbers of the 22,000 polar bears that live in about 20 sites across the Arctic circle.

In Hudson Bay, Canada, the site of the most southerly polar bears, a study by the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the Canadian Wildlife Service to be published next year will show the population fell 22% from 1,194 in 1987 to 935 last year.

New evidence from field researchers working for the World Wildlife Fund in Yakutia, on the northeast coast of Russia, has also shown the region’s first evidence of cannibalism among bears competing for food supplies.

Polar bears live on ice all year round and use it as a platform from which to hunt food and rear their young. They hunt near the edge, where the ice is thinnest, catching seals when they make holes in the ice to breath. They typically eat one seal every four or five days and a single bear can consume 100lb of blubber at one sitting.

As the ice pack retreats north in the summer between June and October, the bears must travel between ice floes to continue hunting in areas such as the shallow water of the continental shelf off the Alaskan coast — one of the most food-rich areas in the Arctic.

However, last summer the ice cap receded about 200 miles further north than the average of two decades ago, forcing the bears to undertake far longer voyages between floes.

“We know short swims up to 15 miles are no problem, and we know that one or two may have swum up to 100 miles. But that is the extent of their ability, and if they are trying to make such a long swim and they encounter rough seas they could get into trouble,” said Steven Amstrup, a research wildlife biologist with the USGS.

The new study, carried out in part of the Beaufort Sea, shows that between 1986 and 2005 just 4% of the bears spotted off the north coast of Alaska were swimming in open waters. Not a single drowning had been documented in the area.

However, last September, when the ice cap had retreated a record 160 miles north of Alaska, 51 bears were spotted, of which 20% were seen in the open sea, swimming as far as 60 miles off shore.

The researchers returned to the vicinity a few days later after a fierce storm and found four dead bears floating in the water. “We estimate that of the order of 40 bears may have been swimming and that many of those probably drowned as a result of rough seas caused by high winds,” said the report.

In their search for food, polar bears are also having to roam further south, rummaging in the dustbins of Canadian homes. Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the explorer who has been to the North Pole seven times, said he had noticed a deterioration in the bears’ ice habitat since his first expedition in 1975.

“Each year there was more water than the time before,” he said. “We used amphibious sledges for the first time in 1986.”

His last expedition was in 2002, when he fell through the ice and lost some of his fingers to frostbite.

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