Polar Bears Not Endangered

In 2002, the US Geological Survey in the Arctic Refuge Coastal plain reported the polar bear population was near historic highs. Biologist Mitchell Taylor of the Arctic community of Nunavit who tracks 13 of those colonies, says 11 are stable or thriving with populations that have increased 25%.

There are approximately 19 worldwide polar bear populations, the Fish and Wildlife action was based solely on reviewing data for only one of those populations in western Hudson Bay which has declined by 259 bears in last 17 years. The decline is due to hunting to prevent overpopulation and ironically the Canadian government is looking to increase the quota. (US Geological Survey in Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain 2002, and Dr. Mitchell Taylor, Polar Bear Biologist, Department of Environment, Government of Nunavut , Igloolik , Nunavut , Canada “Last Stand of our wild polar bears” 5/1/06)

IceCap.com for FAQs and Myths.
Climate change is having an effect on the west Hudson population of polar bears, but really, there is no need to panic. Of the 13 populations of polar bears in Canada , 11 are stable or increasing in number. They are not going extinct, or even appear to be affected at present.

It is noteworthy that the neighbouring population of southern Hudson Bay does not appear to have declined, and another southern population ( Davis Strait ) may actually be over-abundant.

I understand that people who do not live in the north generally have difficulty grasping the concept of too many polar bears in an area. People who live here have a pretty good grasp of what that is like to have too many polar bears around.

This complexity is why so many people find the truth less entertaining than a good story. It is entirely appropriate to be concerned about climate change, but it is just silly to predict the demise of polar bears in 25 years based on media-assisted hysteria.

Dr. Mitchell Taylor
Polar Bear Biologist,
Department of the Environment,
Government of Nunavut , Igloolik , Nunavut , Canada

May 1, 2006


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