September 30, 2017

There 26,000 polar bears in the world, and 1% of them came together for a single feast...

... on the carcass of one dead bowhead whale (in Siberia).
“You had to live it to believe it, even now there are people pinching themselves to make sure it really happened,” Rodney Russ, Expedition Leader, Owner and Founder of Heritage Expeditions writes....
The polar bear is the largest living land carnivore, and yet 260 of them feasted on one bowhead whale (which is about half the size of the world's largest whale).

47 comments:

tim in vermont said...

The one percent are always hogging everything.

rwnutjob said...

So, of the 10,000 Polar Bears in 1970, only 26,000 survive?

rehajm said...

Maybe we counted wrong?

WisRich said...

26,000? That's inconvenient.

Bob Ellison said...

Whale. Much better than kale.

Fernandinande said...

So that's what happened to the Russian whale who put out the anti-Billary propaganda on Fakebook.

Goddess of the Classroom said...

"There are around 26,000 polar bears on the planet out there doing their best as the ice caps melt." and

"Polar bears aren’t classified as endangered—many of their populations have healthy numbers, though some are in decline. Yet, due to melting polar ice caps and a warming globe, ..., according to the World Wildlife Fund."

Evidence, please.

traditionalguy said...

White Privilege. Run and hide or it will eat you.

rhhardin said...

For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain
Because today's the day the
Polar Bears have their picnic

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

I thought HIllarywood said they were extinct?

LYNNDH said...

Enviro's can't count. The 260 are all the Polar Bears left. The other white ones (oh how Racist to be a White Bear and not a Black or Brown Bear) are Finnish or Swedish or Norwegian or Canadian or Alaskan bears.

Bob Ellison said...

That's a problem with the polar bear. They're kinda like Siegfried and Roy's white tigers: they're a white brown bear.

You might-could gather a bunch of brown bears and make more polar bears with careful breeding, but those brown bears don't gather easy. It's not a good idea.

Ambrose said...

Interesting - despite the obligatory climate change throwaway in the intro.

David said...

Maybe there are a lot more than 26,000 Polar Bears.

David said...

"There are no words to describe it.”

Last sentence of a medium length article that barely tried to describe it.

buwaya said...

There probably are a lot more than 26,000 polar bears.
It is a bit difficult to count the things and working from small area samples and extrapolating can be misleading.

In this case for instance - thats a lot of bears in one spot for a feeding opportunity. They can only go so far to feed, nor can they detect the meat at such great distances. That certainly isnt 1% of the bears range, which is immense.

Big Mike said...

This group of polar bears could be seen only because of the brown backdrop. Polar bears against a backdrop of ice or snow are practically invisible, making any efforts to count them a bit dubious at best. Archeologists excavating in the north pay an experienced hunter to guard them against polar bears, because by the time an inexperienced human sees one it's often too late.

Steve Uhr said...

Well, they are still white so I guess that proves there is no global warming.

AllenS said...

If that's 1% of 26,000 right there in that small area, then they are about 260,000 polar bears in the world.

tim in vermont said...

Rh reedeems himself from that infamous thread in one comment.

tim in vermont said...

The takeaway is that we really don't have any idea how many polar bears there are, nor do we understand how they survived the Eemian, which was so much warmer for so much longer that the Maldives were under sea.

tim in vermont said...

They could have sounded like scientists had they said somewhere between a half a percent to three percent of all polar bears, but that would introduce doubt!

mockturtle said...

They look surprisingly healthy for a dying species.

James Smith said...

Land carnivores? Polar bears are classified as marine mammals. These bears will kill anything that crosses their path and is unable to stop them. Many zoos consider them to be the most dangerous animal they have. Even a well fed bear will kill someone. Remember the woman in Alaska that wanted to get closer to a Polar bear in the zoo? Her commune with nature did not turn out so well.

tim in vermont said...

the Eemian warm period, which began around 125,000 years ago following the Saalian ice age.

For about 10,000 years, average temperatures on Earth in the Eemian were rather enhanced – probably several degrees above today's level. This seems to be well documented in both ice cores as well as terrestrial records from land vegetation. Substantial parts of the Greenland ice had melted, and global sea level was higher than today

tim in vermont said...

The above is from phys.org my phone is not so good at format

Bruce Hayden said...

"So, of the 10,000 Polar Bears in 1970, only 26,000 survive?"

Global Warming! Or at least we have been repeatedly assured that Global Warming is causing polar bears to go extinct. Something about all the open water in the Arctic Ocean. Supposedly causes them to drown, though they seem to be able to swim for hours.

AJ Lynch said...

I would like to stage a cage match on Pay Per View between a Polar Bear and a Grizzly. Does that make me a bad person or just a greedy capitalist?

mockturtle said...

"So, of the 10,000 Polar Bears in 1970, only 26,000 survive?"

Those 10,000 have been very busy since 1970.

urbane legend said...

@AJ Lynch: Yes. But you already knew that. :-)

Bruce Hayden said...

I was originally a bit surprised that polar bears were considered the biggest land based carnivores. Thought Kodiak brown bears were a smidgen bigger. And, turns out the article that Ann linked to said just that - that the two share this honor, but a Kodiak actually takes the prize as the biggest killed. The brown bears around here are big, but thankfully nowhere nearly as big, and they have to work and forage for their food, as contrasted to the Kodiacks that have it swim up to them in massive numbers.

Ran into something a year or two ago, that browns and polar bears can successfully interbreed. They are separate species, but not that far apart genetically. It appears that the brown bears tend to be dominant, when the two species meet and interact, but their range is limited by their coloring - they don't do as well in the ice, because they are more visible. And their shared offspring typically have too much color to do well either. I would also expect that polar bears are better adapted for swimming long distances in cold water.

Bruce Hayden said...

"I would like to stage a cage match on Pay Per View between a Polar Bear and a Grizzly. Does that make me a bad person or just a greedy capitalist?"

Supposedly, for comparable sized bears, browns tend to prevail. More aggressive, possibly because they may be more likely to run into others of their species, and that they start life very vulnerable to canibalism, which is one of the major causes of death for the during their first year of life.

steve uhr said...

"Those 10,000 have been very busy sine 1970."

Compare with the brown rat, which can increase in population from 2 to 15,000 in one year. In forty years they would probably cover the planet a mile deep if enough food and no predators.

Big Mike said...

I was originally a bit surprised that polar bears were considered the biggest land based carnivores. Thought Kodiak brown bears were a smidgen bigger.

@Bruce, a bunch of years ago I flew into Anchorage on business. There was a stuffed Kodiak brown bear (a subspecies of the grizzly) in one glass case and a stuffed polar bear in another. Both were on the order of seven feet all and I would like to meet neither one on a dark night in the wilderness. I think that the airport has been renovated but the displays are still there.

On the other hand, Alaskan grizzly bears can be mellow on occasion. Note that the guy can't reach his rifle before the bear can reach him.

Quaestor said...

About 400 pounds of flesh and blubber (bowhead whales have more blubber per body weight of any cetacean) per bear. Seems generous to me. That's about a months worth of seal.

mockturtle said...

On the other hand, Alaskan grizzly bears can be mellow on occasion. Note that the guy can't reach his rifle before the bear can reach him.

He was at least downwind from the bear and the bear wasn't hungry--just bored [yawning]. Timothy Treadwell learned how 'mellow' bears can turn on a dime.

Fernandinande said...

mockturtle said...
Timothy Treadwell learned how 'mellow' bears can turn on a dime.


The bear that killed him (#141) wasn't mellow, didn't hang out with his bears and people avoided it more than other bears; it was also old, had bad teeth and was kinda starving.

He was the first (only?) person killed by a bear in Katmai National Park, in > 80 years.

Grizzly bears almost never hunt people, like black bears sometimes do, but they don't like being surprised, or people getting too near, especially with cubs.

Quaestor said...

Note that the guy can't reach his rifle before the bear can reach him.

Actually, that's a shotgun. Much more practical in that situation. What was going through that guy's head when he noticed the bear and his weapon carelessly left out of reach? Quaestor can surmise: I am such a cuck.

mockturtle said...

What was going through that guy's head when he noticed the bear and his weapon carelessly left out of reach? Quaestor can surmise: I am such a cuck.

Or maybe, Oy, vey!. Depending.

Big Mike said...

@Quaestor, you could be right about the gun.

Big Mike said...

@Quaestor, OTOH it could be this rifle. Chambered in .44 Rem Mag it can hit pretty darned hard but it's lightweight and easy to pack.

Quaestor said...

OTOH it could be this rifle.

I based my assessment on the visible loading port.

stlcdr said...

Did the article talk about global warming (erm, climate change, or whatever)? It seems like it would be an interesting article - I didn't read it: every article or 'thing of interest' in nature becomes an opportunity to brow beat the reader over their sin of climate change. It's become so tiresome to read, that it's not worth the effort.

Also, I say 'read' but with something like this is 'pics or it didn't happen'.

Rusty said...

Fernandinande said...
"mockturtle said...
Timothy Treadwell learned how 'mellow' bears can turn on a dime.

The bear that killed him (#141) wasn't mellow, didn't hang out with his bears and people avoided it more than other bears; it was also old, had bad teeth and was kinda starving."

Did they actually shoot the bear that killed him? I know they-conservation officers- killed several bears that they suspected ate the couple and did kill the bear that ate his girl friend.
It is my understanding that the island suffered from a short run of salmon that fall and all the bears were stressed. Of course it didn't help that they made their camp right on the main bear trail. A very, very stupid man.

lgv said...

Blogger Goddess of the Classroom said...
"There are around 26,000 polar bears on the planet out there doing their best as the ice caps melt." and

"Polar bears aren’t classified as endangered—many of their populations have healthy numbers, though some are in decline. Yet, due to melting polar ice caps and a warming globe, ..., according to the World Wildlife Fund."

Evidence, please.


There is no evidence. It is based on a series of suppositions. Because A may cause B, and B may cause C, and C would result in a decrease in polar bear population, we decided to put polar bears on the list.

Curious George said...

Damn I wish I had the Coke concession.

Bruce Hayden said...

"Polar bears aren’t classified as endangered—many of their populations have healthy numbers, though some are in decline. Yet, due to melting polar ice caps and a warming globe, ..., according to the World Wildlife Fund."

The problem was, and continues to be, selective reporting of statistics. Cherry picking. While one or two populations were declining, the others were growing, meaning that overall, the population of the species was increasing. But we only heard about the declining populations, and that was (politically) extrapolated to the entire population, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

The argument was always pretty bogus anyway. Polar bears can swim for hours in the frigid Arctic Ocean. They are very unlikely to drown while doing so. The biggest factor in their numbers is the amount of prey available, and has been known for years, that sort of relationship booms and busts in cycles.