12/31/2009

Canada Inuits Claim that the number of Polar Bears is the highest ever

The Inuits and other numbers seem to clearly show that there are more polar bears.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service -- as well as many polar-bear biologists -- say that global warming is destroying so much of the bears' icy habitat that the species could be nearly wiped out in the next 100 years. The U.S. is pushing to ban global trade in polar bears at an international meeting in March.

Canada says it has "considerable concern" over polar bears' future, but that it is unclear how much Arctic ice will be lost and what effect the melts will have on the wildlife that lives there.

Then there is Solomon Awa, a resident of Iqaluit in Canada's Arctic northeast, who like many Inuit is seeing more polar bears than ever when he goes hunting. "I've seen polar bears are not declining," says Mr. Awa. "Actually, there are increasing numbers." . . .

Veteran polar-bear biologist Mitchell Taylor says he has been ostracized by former colleagues for his views that global warming isn't man-made, and therefore it is hard to predict what will happen to the climate or polar bears in the future.

"For the sake of polar bear conservation," Mr. Taylor's views "are extremely unhelpful," fellow polar-bear biologist Andrew Derocher, wrote in an email this summer explaining why most of Mr. Taylor's colleagues wouldn't welcome him at an international meeting.

Mr. Taylor, in turn, has accused Mr. Derocher and others of twisting facts to make polar bears seem more endangered than they are. "That's what we lost in this whole debate -- perspective," says Mr. Taylor.

Nearly everyone agrees that there are more polar bears now than when scientists first started counting: Estimates put the population between 20,000 and 25,000, up from several thousand 50 years ago. In Canada, where two-thirds of the world's bears live, most populations have grown during the past two or three decades. Arctic residents say they are now bumping into bears wherever they turn. . . .


The article is clearly wrong about this:

In recent years, the Arctic sea ice has been shrinking at the pace of 11% per decade


See this discussion here.

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