There have been a lot of polar bear stories in the news lately and here is a quick round up.
Godfather of polar bear science – Edmonton scientist Ian Stirling’s new book on polar bears wasn’t even in bookstores this summer when a venerable American wildlife magazine posted a gushing review.
The latest, Polar Bears, The Natural History of a Threatened Species, is a handsome book of articles and photographs that is a memoir, a reference book, a science book, a coffee-table book and a lament for a species that could disappear from most of its range sometime within the next half-century.
Stirling spends a lot of time and effort in Churchill and does work with Polar Bears International. PBI is offering signed copies for sale on their website.
Here’s another interesting story that is sure to have many expressing concern:
A mother polar bear swam for nine days straight to reach sea ice, covering nearly 700 kilometres and losing her cub in the process, according to a new study on the movement of female polar bears.
The study, which links shrinking sea ice as a possible threat to polar bear cubs, also noted the bear lost 22 per cent of her body weight after swimming in the Beaufort Sea.
Luckily the polar bears in Hudson Bay don’t have quite that far to go to get off the sea ice – could be the reason we see so many healthy bears around the Seal River Heritage Lodge.
The Beaufort Sea is north of Alaska & the Yukon. There seems to be a story like this every year in the news.
And while there are reports of bears swimming incredible lengths and drowning, today comes a story of a scientist who did some of those studies being investigated:
A U.S. wildlife biologist whose observation in 2004 of presumably drowned polar bears in the Arctic helped to galvanize the global warming movement has been placed on administrative leave and is being investigated for scientific misconduct, possibly over the veracity of that article.
Here is a tidbit on polar bear (and grizzly and black bear) safety information:
A study published in 2008 in The Journal of Wildlife Management looked at the efficacy of bear spray as a deterrent involving grizzly, black and polar bear encounters in Alaska from 1985 to 2006.
In 72 cases where people sprayed bears to defend themselves, 98 per cent walked away uninjured.
That’s good to know if you’re ever out there alone in the woods. When we walk with polar bears at the lodges we travel in groups. Our polar bear guides – Andy & Terry – are 100% pros when it comes to keeping our guests safe.
There are other interesting bear facts and stats in that article. Make sure you give it a read if you ever plan to go hiking through the Canadian Wilderness alone (not recommended without Andy or Terry present). You DO NOT want to cause a stir like this guy:
Conservation officers in northeastern Manitoba were forced to fatally shoot a polar bear after it ran after a tourist and charged at a truck.
Laura Gray-Ellis said she was at the health centre in Churchill on Monday morning when she saw a tourist at the beach snapping photos just three metres from the bear.
That’s what happens when people do not follow the posted rules and disrespect polar bears. Just plain stupid.
There’s also a super-great, super-fantastic, super-yummy story about an Arctic cuisine/Canadian wine pairing that is happening at Seal River Heritage Lodge this weekend.
Churchill Wild, which owns and operates Canada’s premier polar bear lodges for viewing polar bears in their natural environment, has partnered with Banville & Jones Wine Co. in Winnipeg to celebrate Food Day Canada 2011 on July 30 with a wine-pairing event at their remote Seal River Heritage Lodge in Northern Manitoba, Canada.
And from the always strange (and how things have changed) files – here’s an old newspaper clipping from 1951 entitled “Crippled Polar, Four Monkeys, Bear Still Free” A circus trailer overturned and released a bunch of animals in Arkansas. Among them was a polar bear.
Notice the $200 reward if anyone can capture the polar bear alive!