Reader Arthur C. Smith III of Alaska has responded to Ed Caryl’s earlier essay: The Polar Bear, and my claim that the polar bear is in no real danger. I’ve upgraded his comment to a post. Smith has studied polar bears for years.
Dear Ed, P,
If this were only the Pleistocene, your factual errors, outdated science references and unfounded conclusions aside, you are right, polar bears would come to land and survive.
However, this is not the Pleistocene, it is the Holocene. For the first time in polar bear evolution, the decline of sea ice now places the bears’ turn to land in direct conflict with an animal with which it has never before had to compete: man.
Polar bears are most certainly more threatened now than in any time in their history, and we are to blame. Behind the screen of climate change, the world has been duped; polar bears do need land, a fact and reality that is being denied.
Behind this denial, there exists no sanctuary for polar bears in Alaska and no one seems to mind, much less care. “Critical Habitat” here in the US, is 96% melting sea ice. While only 4% is land, that land is still available for development.
When the sea ice melts, and it is melting, and the polar bears come to land (they are already doing so), 2,000+ polar bears will have no choice but to come ashore with no land set aside for them.
When 2000+ polar bears find no sanctuary, no refuge from development, no home, no peace, they will not survive. You say they they are in no danger, the fact is that they have never faced a greater danger.
Like Mr. Gore, your misguided position only serves to further public confusion, and further damage the future of polar bears.
Polar bears can survive climate change, but not human greed. If we continue to wage the politics of climate change on the backs of polar bears, they will never have a chance.
Polar bears need sanctuary, and until they get it, they have no future as a species on this planet.
Arthur C. Smith III
8 year resident, studying and filming polar bears
Barter Island, Arctic Ocean