Of Polar Bears and Penguins
Polar bear males frequently play-fight.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Polar bears and, to a lesser extent, penguins were the icons of doomsayers saying both animals would soon become extinct because of global warming. However, recent evidence, actual counts and estimates, show populations of both animals are growing.
The Inuit population of Canada’s Nunavut Territory say that “Scientists do a quick study one to two weeks in a helicopter, and don’t see all the polar bears. We’re getting totally different stories about the bear numbers on a daily basis from hunters and harvesters on the ground.”
The Inuit say that polar bear populations within their territory is stable and on the rise. During the last ten years, the growing population has become a real problem according to the Inuits, “families enjoying outdoor activities must be on the look-out for bears. Many locals invite along other hunters for protection.” (Source).
Doomsayers assume that polar bears cannot adapt to changing conditions, but the bears have been around for a long time, perhaps as much as 600,000 years. That means they have survived several periods warmer than now. For instance, fossils evidence shows that polar bears survived the Eemian period 125,000 years ago when it was warm enough that hippos lived where London is now. (Alaska Science Forum). Within the last 11,000 years, polar bears survived the twin peaks of the Holocene Climatic Optimum which peaked at about 10,000 years ago near Alaska and between 8,500 to 5,000 years ago near Greenland. Proxy evidence shows that global temperatures were about 2.5 C warmer than now in most places and up to 7 C warmer in northern Russia.