The Bear Facts
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has just put the polar bear on the endangered species list because it is supposedly "facing extinction" -- mainly, it claims, as a result of global warming. But statistics show the polar bear is not facing extinction, not by a long shot.
The polar bear biologist cited by the IUCN correctly states the current population of polar bears to be about 22,000-25,000. But when asked for historical data he responds that this number has not changed much in recent decades. He does not mention the fact that half a century ago there were only about 8,000-10,000 polar bears. That low number was not the result of global warming or even cooling but of overhunting. A subsequent regulation of the hunt solved the problem: the polar bear population started to increase again.
While it is probably not possible to define an ideal number of polar bears that "belong" on the planet, there are indications, both from scientific studies and from traditional Inuit knowledge (called IQ for Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit) that the current number of polar bears is actually high. There are about 20 groups of these animals in the Arctic and the majority of them are thriving. The avalanche of media reports about polar bears in trouble is based on just two of these groups. The recent increase of hunting quota for polar bears in Greenland and Canada would actually indicate that their number is increasing. Inuit I talked to (over the phone) made it clear that this increase is not always good news: Ursus Maritimus can be a nasty fellow. He doesnt kill often, but remains a dangerous animal who can smell human presence over long distances.
The main threat to the polar bear in the eyes of IUCN is global warming. For a minute let's assume that the IUCN doomsday-scenario becomes reality. By 2050 polar bears will have experienced more than a 30 percent population decline. But even then the population would still be bigger than it was 50 years ago.
In the same week the IUCN came out with the polar bear list, Dr. Mitch Taylor, a polar bear biologist from the Eskimo nation Nunavut (four times as big as France, 30,000 inhabitants) wrote in the Toronto Star: "Of the 13 populations of polar bears in Canada, 11 are stable or increasing in number. They are not going extinct, or even appear to be affected at present. This complexity is why so many people find the truth less entertaining than a good story. It is entirely appropriate to be concerned about climate change, but it is just silly to predict the demise of polar bears in 25 years based on media-assisted hysteria."
Source: TCS 5/19/6 - http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=051806J
Thanks for posting that info. I have a friend at work, a Republican too, who firmly believes that polar bears are going extinct. He believes all the-global-warming-is-caused-by-humans hysteria also.