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POLAR BEAR Numbers Not Declining Despite Media Headlines Suggesting Otherwise

polarbearscience

In scanning comments generated by the recent flurry of internet interest in polar bears and blogs I noticed that a good many people, fed alarming media stories, are still convinced that polar bear numbers are declining rapidly when nothing could be further from the truth.

Crockford 2017_Slide 12 screencap
In some cases, the media have made a possible future problem sound like a current problem. In others, people are remembering data from 2010 or so, not realizing that the picture has changed — or they assume that a conservation status of ‘threatened’ or ‘vulnerable’ (e.g. Amstrup et al. 2007) must mean numbers are declining (because that’s true for virtually all species classified that way, except polar bears).

The sea ice situation hasn’t really improved or deteriorated since 2007 but the polar bear picture is much better: there is information on more subpopulations and studies show most are holding stable or increasing (Aars et…

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