Well, I certainly hope you conservative, Earth hating, pollution and Big Oil loving cretins are happy. You’ve finally killed off all the polar bears. Global warming is not only making the planet hotter and melting the ice caps and leading to women wanting to vote, but it’s wiped out the habitat of one of the gentle giants of the northern climes. Now there won’t be any more polar bears outside of zoos and the planet is a poorer place for it since you…
… oh, wait.
Healthy polar bear count confounds doomsayers
The debate about climate change and its impact on polar bears has intensified with the release of a survey that shows the bear population in a key part of northern Canada is far larger than many scientists thought, and might be growing.
The number of bears along the western shore of Hudson Bay, believed to be among the most threatened bear subpopulations, stands at 1,013 and could be even higher, according to the results of an aerial survey released Wednesday by the Government of Nunavut. That’s 66 per cent higher than estimates by other researchers who forecasted the numbers would fall to as low as 610 because of warming temperatures that melt ice faster and ruin bears’ ability to hunt. The Hudson Bay region, which straddles Nunavut and Manitoba, is critical because it’s considered a bellwether for how polar bears are doing elsewhere in the Arctic.
When this story came over the transom, I had a conversation with a friend where we both came to the same speculative conclusion. (Disclosure: I’m not a zoologist. Duh.)
Polar bears have been around for a long time. And with apologies to the “Earth is 6,000 years old” crowd, by ‘long time’ I’m talking a lot longer than people. The planet constantly goes through massive climate change periods, where “constant” means over a period of hundreds of millions or billions of years. There have been ice ages. There have been hothouse periods. The ice sheets have advanced and retreated. And somehow the polar bears marched on.
Do you suppose they have some sort of racial memory of warmer times before? Is it possible that they’ve seen this movie before, and when they can’t hunt for seals through holes in the ice, they switched to hunting from shore? Do they generally move south when it gets warm and cross breed with other bears to keep the line going?
The fact is, the Earth has been swinging wildly in terms of climate since long before we figured out how to bang the rocks together and make a spark. And the polar bears are still here. Could be that we’re just not giving them enough credit in terms of their ability to adapt and survive as one of the planet’s foremost apex predators. Food for thought, anyway.