In the Foxe Basin area in the Arctic Circle, aerial surveys show polar bear numbers have risen from 2,200 in 1994 to 2,580 in 2010, while the population in West Hudson Bay has increased from 935 in 2004 to 1,013 in 2011…

Last week I travelled to Kaktovik, Alaska – an Inupiat village of 239 hardy souls on Barter Island at the edge of the Arctic – which has become an unlikely boom town thanks to an influx of polar bears.

Village administrator Tori Sims, 26, beamed as she told me: ‘This has been a great year for the bears.

‘They are fat, happy and healthy. We’re seeing a boom in tourism which brings much-needed revenue to the village and helps us continue to live the traditional life we cherish.

‘I’ve lived here all my life and there are more bears every year. I read stories about polar bears being on the brink of extinction because of global warming, look out of my window and start to laugh.’