The Great Polar Bear Debate
Over the last decade, the polar bear has become a poster child for climate change among southern conservationists. But in the North, the debate is much more nuanced.
The government of Nunavut's latest numbers show there are just as many bears in Western Hudson Bay as there were in 2004. Inuit hunters say the survey proves what they've been saying for years: that the bears are fine.
Now polar bear experts at the University of Alberta have reviewed more than twenty years of evidence on how sea ice could affect their long-term survival. Ian Stirling is one of the authors, and a polar bear biologist of more than forty years. He says the bears could disappear from the southern part of their range in as few as 30 to 40 years if the Arctic continues to warm, and the ice continues to melt.