a well timed reminder – Watts Up With That?

From Polar Bear Science

Posted on January 14, 2021 | 

Should you thought polar bears have been solely a hazard to folks in summer time when sea ice is low, suppose once more. Bears do often come ashore early to mid-winter in search of meals as a result of looking is troublesome and they’re approaching their leanest time of 12 months. They merely stroll from the ice onto land – typically near communities – as a result of many issues related to fashionable human residing are meals attractants for polar bears.

This monitoring map of Western Hudson Bay bears (females with collars) 11 January 2021 (courtesy Andrew Derocher) exhibits a bear simply offshore close to the neighborhood of Whale Cove on the northwest coast – shut sufficient to return ashore if she decides that may very well be in her finest pursuits:

Derocher had this to say concerning the location of this bear (12 Jan 2021):

I assumed the identical factor… Let’s hope it stays out of bother. It’s a bit odd to have a bear so near shore right now of 12 months. There are harbour seals within the flaw lead in order that’s a chance. Bear do what they need to do…

— Andrew Derocher (@AEDerocher) January 12, 2021

It might be ‘odd’ for a bear to be so near shore in winter however since we all know that polar bears do come ashore in winter, it isn’t uncommon however ‘unusual’. A lot of the bother with bears ashore appears to return in March/April on the coast of Labrador and Newfoundland when sea ice is extra in depth and the place 2017 was an distinctive 12 months.


2019 Labrador, Bears reported onshore in Labrador (January 2)

2019 Labrador, Bears onshore in Labrador inflicting issues (February 1)

2019 Alaska, Polar bear assault a whole lot of miles from shore (January 15)

2016 Labrador, Bears onshore in Labrador (7 February)

2016 Abstract of prior incidents and attractants (19 March)

Under: Sea ice circumstances at 13 January 2021, North America in comparison with 2020 and 2019, displaying how in depth the ice was in 2019 (and accounting for bears ashore at Labrador and Newfoundland in early January):

Under is a chart from 1985, when sea ice off Labrador and Newfoundland was as thick in mid-January because it was in 2019, but so far as I do know, there have been no studies of bears ashore in Labrador or northern Newfoundland. This distinction is nearly actually as a result of the inhabitants measurement of Davis Strait bears had not but recovered from earlier centuries of overhunting and harp seals numbers have been nonetheless fairly low in comparison with what they rose to over the subsequent three a long time: presently, each Davis Strait polar bears and harps seals are plentiful (DFO 2012, 2014, 2020; Peacock et al. 2013) and numbers may nonetheless be climbing, though the outcomes of a current bear survey within the area has not but been revealed.


Division of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) 2012. Present standing of northwest Atlantic harp seals (Pagophilus groenlandicus). Science Advisory Report 2011/070.

Division of Fisheries and Oceans Canada DFO. 2014. Standing of Northwest Atlantic harp seals, Pagophilus groenlandicus. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2014/011.

DFO. 2020. 2019 Standing of Northwest Atlantic Harp Seals, Pagophilus groenlandicus. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2020/020. http://www.isdm-gdsi.gc.ca/csas-sccs/functions/Publications/result-eng.asp?params=zero&collection=7&12 months=2020 PDF right here.

Peacock, E., Taylor, M.Okay., Laake, J., and Stirling, I. 2013. Inhabitants ecology of polar bears in Davis Strait, Canada and Greenland. Journal of Wildlife Administration 77:463–476. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jwmg.489/summary?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

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