Biologist Speaks Out on Recent Polar Bear Surveys in Canada
Ian Stirling and Andy Derocher, two polar bear biologists that have worked closely with Polar Bears International, were recently interviewed by the Canadian newspaper Edmonton Journal. In the article a Nunavut Inuit organization claims to have done studies refuting current polar bear numbers that were compiled by Stirling and Derocher as well as biologists outside the Nunavut community. The Nunavut organization is pushing for higher harvest numbers of polar bears in their province. The article states that “Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. said preliminary results from the Nunavut government survey contradict previous reports by Stirling, Derocher and other scientists who have been tracking polar bears in the region for the past 40 years. They say it also vindicates Inuit hunters who insist there are more bears than ever.”
Derocher and Stirling suggest that Inuit hunters have been seeing more polar bears than ever due to the lack of ice these animals have been facing the past decade. If they have no ice they need to be on land. It makes sense that if there are more on land and the native people see them more often that they would assume there must be more polar bears. The article is an interesting read on the issues facing polar bears in the far north and the people who have lived with them for thousands of years. I can’t fault the Inuit for wanting to continue their way of life and that includes hunting polar bears. Unfortunately, if the climate continues to warm at the pace we’re currently experiencing, there won’t be ANY polar bears left to hunt in the not to distant future. You can help support our work at Polar Bears International by donating to the Arctic Documentary Project which is a working long term project to document the far north while it’s still in the state we currently know.
Click on the Arctic Documentary Project to be taken to a web page that describes our mission. We need all the help we can get to capture the arctic in words and images before it’s gone as we know it.