14 Apr 2010, 11:03pm
Bears Third World wildlife and people
by admin

Polar bear’s status focus of Nunavut hearing

Article and comments from CBC News, April 13, 2010 [here]

The question of how to classify Canada’s polar bears under species-at-risk legislation is the subject of a three-day public hearing that began Tuesday in Iqaluit.

Polar bears in Canada were listed as a “species of special concern” — one step below “threatened” and two below “endangered” — under the federal Species at Risk Act in 2002.

The Nunavut Wildlife Management Board is hosting the three-day hearing to consider a 2008 recommendation from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) to keep the “special concern” classification.

The board will submit its own recommendation to the federal government, which will make the final decision about whether to change the polar bear status.

There were an estimated 15,500 polar bears in Canada in 2008, according to COSEWIC, a 60-member scientific committee that advises the federal government on species that should be protected. …

The committee spent two years assessing data about the entire Canadian polar bear population — which is divided into 13 isolated subpopulations — chairman Jeff Hutchings said Tuesday.

Hutchings said although COSEWIC found there are generally more polar bears today than 50 years ago, their future survival could be threatened.

“The key question is what’s going to happen in the future given that sea ice is likely going to decline and that polar bears do depend upon sea ice,” he said.

“That’s the key uncertainty; it’s looking into the future. That’s the basis for the special concern listing.”

While the committee is worried about the effects of climate change in the Arctic, it also has concerns about the hunting of polar bear subpopulations in the Baffin Bay and Kane Basin areas, some parts of which are governed by Greenland.

Inuit in those areas have long disputed scientists’ claims that overhunting has led to fewer bears and could threaten the survival of those subpopulations.

“I hear people around the table, and they say, ‘You know, we are not overharvesting,’ and I would agree completely,” Chris Hotson, the Nunavut government’s assistant director of wildlife management, said at Tuesday’s hearing. …

The Nunavut government indicated on Tuesday that it would support COSEWIC’s recommended listing for the polar bear.

But most Inuit representatives, including elder advisors, disagreed with the proposal, partly out of concern that a reaffirmation of the special concern listing could result in stricter Inuit hunting quotas. … [more]

Some posted comments.

frozen eskimo wrote:

Here in my town we have had polar bears pass though the past 2-3 weeks every other day and for the past week one particular young bear keeps on coming back. Finally the Hunters and Trappers Organization yesterday decided that if the bear is seen again in the community that it can be killed. This bear was actually seen stalking children the day before.

And by the way, when we hunt polar bears, we are after the meat to put 100% organic, 100% healthy food on the table, the hide is a bi-product that can be sold to put store bought processed, unhealthy, non-organic food on the table that costs an arm and a leg.

IamCanadianToo wrote:

The way the biologists study the wildlife, particularly the polar bears, is quite shocking and definitely stressful to the polar bear. The bear is chased to exhaustion, darted with chemicals, measured, weighed, and tagged before waking up. That is a lot of stress for the polar bear in the name of science. Scientists have been studying the polar bears that way since the 70’s. It is a miracle that the polar bear, probably loaded with chemicals in their bodies, have survived this long. After all these years of studies, scientists still speculate the population status. And they want to study more.

Well Inuit have been studying the polar bears for 800 years. They understand the behaviour of the species. Inuit do know the polar bear. But the scientist insist they understand more about the polar bear than the Inuit. That’s why they have never included the Inuit in the studies until recently when Inuit kept proving the truth about their status.

Inuit already know what will happen to the polar bears when the ice recedes; polar bears will ADAPT!

Akimajuktuq wrote:

Polar bear populations are healthy in almost all Canadian regions. They have adapted to conditions that are always changing. Like us, bears can modify their behaviour immediately and adapt quickly. They is little genetic difference between them and the grizzly even though they look different. They do occasionally interbreed. Polar bears have survived similar warm periods in the past.

Inuit knowledge about polar bears is the most valuable available and managers in Nunavut perform studies that support the traditional knowledge.

Akimajuktuq wrote:

You won’t see me commenting on southern issues that I don’t know about, even though I have lived in the south. Why can people not stick to the news that affects them and that they know something about? …

I don’t get why so many people on here belittle traditional and local knowledge. You really need to do some major research into how dependable scientific data is that is isolated from its context. Aboriginal people did not survive and adapt to where they live without being experts on things that affect them. Get some perspective, people.



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