“Five meters of ice– about 16 feet thick – is threatening the survival of polar bears
in the Southern Beaufort Sea region along Alaska’s Arctic coast,” says this article on CNSNews.com.
The thick ice could prevent ringed seals, the bears’ major prey, from creating breathing holes they need to survive in the frigid waters, according to Dr. Susan J. Crockford, an evolutionary biologist in British Columbia who has studied polar bears for most of her 35-year career.
This is the same time that female polar bears are just emerging with their newborn cubs from maternity dens either on or near the shore.
“Prompted by reports of the heaviest sea ice conditions on the East Coast ‘in decades’ and news that ice on the Great Lakes is, for mid-April, the worst it’s been since records began, I took a close look at the ice thickness charts for the Arctic,” Crockford noted in her Polar Bear Science blog on April 18th.
“Spring and early summer are really a critical time for polar bears,” Crockford said. “That’s when they need to eat as many seals as they can because that’s when they put on fat for the rest of the year. If they have trouble doing that in the spring, they’re in big trouble.”
The article, written by Barbara Hollingsworth, then points out that high levels of spring ice in the Beaufort Sea in 2004 and 2006 caused a decline in bear counts, which was mistakenly attributed to melting summer ice caused by global warming.
Also, the bear count did not take into account the fact that polar bears “can just move” to other areas if their food supply is limited, Crockford told CNSNews.com. “If some of those bears were part of that count, it would look like they died.”
See the entire article. It trashes the idea that global warming hurt the Alaska polar bear populations in 2004 and 2006, when bear counts were “one of the pieces of evidence used to have the bears listed as ‘threatened’ in the U.S.”
Thanks to Jack Hydrazine for this link
Dr. Susan J. Crockford website is here:
Thanks to E Stephens for this link