Letter: Recent studies contradict doom and gloom scenario for polar bear populations

Longer open water seasons mean more seal pups to feed upon the following spring

To the Expositor:

My last note regarding the bears indicated that there were positive indications that they are doing quite well as opposed to the narratives presented in most of the news media. At that time the results from the Chukchi Sea subpopulation were released with encouraging news. The bears were thriving in terms of body condition and number of cubs produced. The longer open water season meant ringed seals could feed longer resulting in more pups for the bears to feed on the following spring.

There are now two more studies available covering the Kane Basin and the M’Clintock Channel. Details from the M’Clintock Channel have not been released for some reason but the authors have revealed that the bears are healthy and the subpopulation is increasing. The Kane Basin study shows a population increase from 224 at last count to 357. Improved body condition and stable reproductive performance are also reported. It is interesting to note that Norwegian Bay, Viscount Melville and parts of Northern Beaufort all will have the same conditions as the Kane Basin so this should result in healthy bear populations in these areas as well.

Here is a quote from the study, “These changes may reflect the shift from thick multiyear ice to thinner seasonal ice with higher biological productivity.” Interesting change from the assumptions made for the models that have been presenting us with doom and gloom forecasts for far too long.

Shane Desjardins