Global Polar Bear Population Larger Than Previous Thought – Almost 30,000

  • Date: 25/02/17
  • Susan Crockford, Polar BearScience

The global polar bear population has increased by almost 30% since 2005. It is increasingly obvious that polar bears are thriving despite having lived through summer sea ice levels not predicted to occur until 2050.

The results of three recently-released studies that were not included in the last IUCN Red List assessment add more than 2,050 bears (on average)1 to the official 2015 global polar bear estimate, a point you won’t likely hear next Monday (27 February) from most polar bear specialistsconservation organizations, their cheerleaders and corporate sponsors on International Polar Bear Day.

global-pb-population-size-graphic2_2017-feb-polarbearscience

This means the adjusted 2015 global estimate for polar bears should be about 28,500 (average), a significant increase over the official estimate of 26,500 (average) for 2015 — and an even larger increase over the 2005 estimate of about 22,500 (average)2despite the dramatic loss of summer sea ice since 2007 that we hear about endlessly.

It is increasingly obvious that polar bears are thriving despite having lived through summer sea ice levels not predicted to occur until 2050 – levels of sea ice that experts said would wipe out 2/3 of the world’s polar bears (Amstrup et al. 2007; Crockford 2017a, b).

So when you hear, “Save the polar bears, their future is grim” next week, remember that polar bears are thriving right now because those future predictions were flawed: summer sea ice is not critical habitat for polar bears.

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