The Bears Are Okay? Inuit Hunters Dispute Scientists’ Head Counts
Polar bear populations in Canada’s western Arctic are stable, and the animals are healthy, Inuvialuit hunters say in a study published by the Wildlife Management Advisory Council of Northwest Territories.
“Scientists are worried about the survival of western Arctic polar bears,” CBC reports. But Frank Pokiak, chair of the Inuvialuit Game Council, questioned their population counts.
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“The new estimates for the southern Beaufort is about 900 [bears], but we don’t really believe that,” he told CBC. “That’s part of the traditional knowledge we wanted to collect.”
Hunters and scientists agree that the sea ice is changing, but that doesn’t mean the bears are in imminent danger, said the Advisory Council’s Lindsay Staples. “Polar bears are very adaptable,” Staples said, “and it would be very premature to suggest the fate of polar bears is a doomed one.”