I recently read that populations of polar bears are on the rise. Then I read that this couldn’t be verified. Then I read that certain sub populations were on the decline. Then a third article suggested that they were on the rise again. You get my drift…
The number of wild polar bears on this planet is hard to determine. Figures have been thrown about like an intelligent chimp’s faeces – left, right and centre. Because let’s face it, studying a species which solely resides in the Arctic is going to prove difficult.
Below is an extract from an article titled “Magic Number: A sketchy “fact” about polar bears keeps going … and going … and going” and is found in “Society of Environmental Journalists” web edition, SEJournal.
“How many bears were around then, we don’t really know because the only studies of bears at that time were in their very early stages — people were just beginning to figure out how we might study animals scattered over the whole Arctic in difficult logistical situations. Some estimated that world population might have been as small as 5000 bears, but this was nothing more than a WAG. The scientific ability to estimate the sizes of polar bear populations has increased dramatically in recent years. (Editor’s note: “WAG” is scientific jargon for “Wild-Ass Guess.”)” (Dykstra, P. 2008)
This is a quote from Steve Amstrup, emailing the author of the article. Steve led the US Geological Survey researching the current status of polar bears. His quote is in reference to population figures back from the 60s and 70s.
So this quote, along with many others I found within this article (see link below), goes to show that the population number of polar bears 50 years ago was as much as a mystery as how some people can solve a rubix cube in a matter of minutes. We just didn’t know.
Since the 60s, and as Steve Amstrup said, “The scientific ability to estimate the sizes of polar bear populations has increased dramatically in recent years.” With this in mind, a more accurate number, much higher than the 5000 previously guessed by researchers, has been suggested. It is thought to be closer to 20-25,000.
So, this out of the way, I’d like to press on to more urgent matters. One which may be how many “ignorant” and quite frankly “odd” specimens of the human population have then used this data, skewed it, flipped it on its head, put it in a blender and have come to the conclusion that climate change is a myth. Not real. Fake. Yes, that’s right. In the past hour, I have read too many comments suggesting that climate change is FAKE due to “the population of polar bears nearly quadrupling since the 50s.” I laughed, hard. Then I realised this was potentially, very bad.
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