The climate change alarmists have created by the help of mainstream media an image that polar bears are near extinction. The reason for this false image is that polar bears are losing the hunting grounds because the arctic sea has been melting. The photo of a starving polar bear by Kerstin Langenberger became quickly one of the icons of the dangerous climate change, Fig. 1.
These kinds of photos create strong emotional feelings. Of course this is the purpose, when these images have been used in supporting the claims of dangerous climate change. Probably many people have no idea about the facts of the life conditions of the polar bears. The scientists say that polar bears die at the average age of 15 – 18 years mainly for hunger. The nature is cruel. The elderly polar bears are not able to catch any more prey animals and that is why they starve to death - not by hearth attacks. Polar bears are capable to survive longer periods without food, because it is a natural condition during the summer time.
Fig. 1. Photographer Kerstin Langenberger's image of a starving polar bear in Svalbard has become an icon of the threat of climate change. (Photo: Kerstin Langenberger/Facebook)
In reality the population of polar bears is greater than ever for 100 years or more. This is illustrated in Fig. 2. The estimate of the present population is from 20 000 to 25 000 animals. I have found this same figure from two sources:
1) Polar Bear International: http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/about-polar-bears/faqs#q3
2) WWF: ttp://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/where_we_work/arctic/wildlife/polar_bear/population/
The population has been as low as 5000 animals in 1950. The reason for this low number was hunting. The hunting was denied in1973 by the Agreement of Conservation of Polar Bears by the major countries surrounding the arctic area. There after the population has increased steadily.
Fig.2. Population trend of polar bears
It is not a big surprise that there have been many projections, which show sharp decline of the population in the near future - a mass starvation. Actually the decrease according to some projections should have been started already by 1995 as one can see in Fig. 2. The major – and the only reason - for these dull projections have been the projections showing strong decrease of arctic sea ice area at the summer times and the total lost even by 2013 – 2015. As a reminder, Fig.3 shows that the arctic sea ice has started a slow recovery since the minimum in 2012. The sea ice area in 2015 is almost at the low variation limit during the years 1979 – 2000.
Fig. 3. The arctic sea ice extent