Many otherwise intelligent people believe only a few hundred polar bears remain

polarbearscience

The other day, I got a call from an international journalist who admitted he’d done no research into the polar bear issue but believed, based on media reports he’d heard, that there must only be about 100-200 bears remaining in the Arctic. I know he’s not alone.

polar-bears-3-large_USGS

This journalist was utterly astonished to learn that the IUCN Red List assessment in 2015 put the polar bear population total at 20,000-31,000 bears and demanded proof that this was true.

Here is a summary of the Red List report, with references and links to the report:

The 2015 IUCN Red List assessment update for polar bears(published 18 November 2015) states that the global polar bear population is 20,000 – 31,000 (25,500), that the current trend is ‘unknown’ and that there is only a 70% chance that polar bear numbers will decline by 30% in 35 years (with virtually zero chance that…

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The Truth About Polar Bears

Originally Published @ CanadianGeographic.caFull Article Here

Depending on whom you ask, the North’s sentinel species is either on the edge of extinction or an environmental success story. An in-depth look at the complicated, contradictory and controversial science behind the sound bites.

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From the article:

On the western shore of Hudson Bay, it’s sometimes hard to remember that polar bears are supposed to be going extinct. Every fall, hundreds of bears gather near Churchill, Man., waiting for the bay to freeze so that they can head out onto the ice to hunt for seals. During this period, people in town treat polar bears more like nuisances than a sentinel species whose condition is regarded as the clearest evidence of the coming global climate apocalypse…

…The current scientific consensus places the worldwide polar bear population between 20,000 and 25,000 animals. Prior to the 1973 worldwide restriction on commerical 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.” He went on to say that “the world population of polar bears is certainly greater than 20,000 and could be as high as 40,000 … I am inclined toward the upper end of that range.” Although old studies are sketchy, clearly more polar bears are alive today than there were 50 years ago, an essentially heartening fact that has not managed to pierce the public consciousness…