Claims that polar bears will hunt down humans because of climate change don't stack up against the evidence
Last week’s column lead on the numerous stupid predictions from the original Earth Day in 1970 sure stirred up some of my 63 semi-regular readers.
But the large majority that sent me e-mails agreed that, in essence, the scientific proof concerning any human-caused global warming or cooling simply is not there. Still, the silliness of human-caused global warming, er, climate change, continues to haunt us in today’s world. Here is just one example from one very recent source.
The Washington Post (WaPo) newspaper simply couldn’t refrain from pushing the latest global warming scare-claim: namely that polar bears, impacted by climate change, will develop a taste for human flesh. And they'll be on the prowl to satisfy their gnawing hunger. The Daily Caller summarizes this utter absurdity:
“Polar bears hurt by climate change are more likely to turn to a new food source — humans” is the rather chilling headline WaPo went with in its article, published Thursday, July 13. The Post reported that with higher temperatures, “the more likely polar bears are to interact with humans — and possibly attack and eat them.”
WaPo relied on a recently-published study in the Wildlife Society Bulletin that looked at recorded polar bear attacks going back to 1870. The authors found “no trend” in the number of attacks by decade through 2014, which you’d think would count against the claim that bear attacks increase with less ice, but you thought wrong.
Instead, the study’s authors argue the “frequency” of attacks, which they say may be increasing. The report also found that “nutritionally stressed adult male polar bears were the most likely to pose threats to human safety.”
The study claims “the greatest number of polar bear attacks occurred in the partial decade of 2010 — 2014, which was characterized by historically low summer sea ice extent and long ice-free periods.”
So how does this information relate to the truth about snow bears? We need to begin with current population numbers. According to the most recent International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) report, current estimates indicate there are roughly 26,000 polar bears world wide. But is that figure accurate?
I did some rather extensive research on this subject last year, and I found the actual number of polar bears is between 65,000 and 69,000.
What about the increased number of bear attacks? Was “historically low summer sea ice extent and long ice-free periods” the real reason?
First off, if you search for real and true summer ice figures in arctic waters using sources that do not rely on “global warming” funding, you will discover that arctic ice was actually more abundant last year. The claim of historically low summer ice is a complete lie that is directly traceable to altered “ice cover” figures.
And who altered those figures? So-called experts at NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are the primary culprits in this mystery. Those “experts” have been caught fudging and altering the climate data on numerous occasions.
So why did the WaPo jump on this particular information? Here is the essential summation: “Polar bears rely on Arctic sea ice to hunt seals, so projections of shrinking sea ice coverage mean more bears could be forced inland. If that happens, there’s an increased chance starving polar bears will meet up with humans.”
But the truth about why there have been more polar bear attacks on humans is much less dramatic. The population of snow bears has probably never been greater, and is due mainly to increased government protection. At the same time, more and more people are venturing into areas along the arctic coast that were difficult if not humanly possible to visit in the past.
Do the math. More bears plus more clueless people equals the potential for more bear conflicts. And when you add in an average annual human/polar bear conflict rate (prior to 2010) of two to four versus the four to six human/bear conflicts occurring annually from 2010 to 2014 it is easy to see that snow bears are not really switching their preferred food from seals to Homo sapiens.
As a trained scientist, I get really steamed when I see skewed data and wild theories being used as proof of global warming, er, climate change taking over the earth. If there is real proof, then show it to me.
But until it is presented in sufficient quantity and an unaltered state I’ll continue to believe in natural climate variations just like those that have occurred during the past million years or so.
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I received a question last week that I wanted to share with readers. It was “How long do birds live?” And the answer is, ‘it depends.’
Generally speaking, most songbirds (around 75 percent) will survive for only around six months. Their high mortality rate is due to many factors, including predation, starvation, and climatic problems.
But remember that every living thing is relative in nature. A mature bald or golden eagle’s normal life span after successfully fledging is often measured in decades, while a mourning dove might not live three months and rarely exceeds two years.
Many mammals also have relatively short lifespans. Cottontail rabbits have an average lifespan of less than six months, and meadow voles less than two. That is not to say that all small mammals or birds die young. A portion of all of these critters will live for several years, procreating their species along the way.
And you can feel sorry for late litters of certain critters such as squirrels and even deer fawns. If the litters or babies are born too late in the year they probably won’t have a chance to mature sufficiently before the winter’s cold arrives.
Len Lisenbee is the Daily Messenger’s Outdoor Columnist. Contact him at lisenbee@frontiernet. net.