CBSNews article Part 2, see first part here
Polar bear image being exploited?
"However, there are critics.
Jose Kusugak heads the Kivalliq Inuit Association in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, and doesn't believe polar bears are at risk or in decline. And he doesn't like to see them used to generate sympathy for the cause.
"I have no doubt that the polar bear image is being exploited. They seem to have to use a nice-looking animal to get more money for their cause, so that's why they're using the polar bear," he said.
Coreth said his project isn't political, even though it's funded by the World Wildlife Fund and associated with Polar Bears International, a non-profit organization dedicated to the worldwide conservation of polar bears and their habitat.
The message, he said, should transcend politics.
"We can stop this process if we get ourselves in order," he said about climate change.
A recent report from Polar Bears International suggested the late formation of Arctic sea ice might be forcing some hungry and desperate polar bears in Churchill to resort to cannibalism.
Eight cases of mature male polar bears eating bear cubs have been reported this year among the animals around Churchill, according to scientists.
But Kusugak said the incidents are non-events, and it's wrong to connect the bears' behaviour with starvation. He said it's a normal occurrence among the bears.
Kusugak admitted some communities are having polar bear problems because warmer-than-average temperatures mean sea ice hasn't yet formed properly.
But he disagrees their numbers are dwindling or that polar bears are in other danger because of climate change."
Reading this, I want to make you aware of another article a Canadian friend sent me some days ago, but find here the blog entry of JoAnne Simerson from San Diego from her latest visit in Churchill/Manitoba...Thanks to Diane who made me aware of it too.
Posted at 10:55 am November 27, 2009 by JoAnne Simerson
JoAnne is in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, to study polar bears.
I will open by telling you that this story will break your heart. Please know this will not be easy to read, but it is a story that needs to be told.
On November 20 here in Churchill, just east of Gordon Point, we saw the tragic loss of a 11-month-old cub and the grieving of the loss by its mother. We did not witness the actual death but the aftermath: a young adult female with her cub was attacked by an adult male polar bear. The female lost the battle as the large male overpowered her and killed her cub. Valiantly she charged him and tried to get her cub back, but it was too late.
Soon other bears arrived in the area, but the large male prevailed and began to consume the small body in a hill of willow bushes. Still the mother continued to wander the area with every hope of saving her cub. The male eventually moved the small body out to the coast where the mother had less opportunity to charge him, but he left much of the pelt behind.The mother continued to circle the male, risking even more harm from the other bears gathering if not from the male. Eventually she moved back to the willows, desperately searching for her cub. What she found was the pelt. She picked the pelt up in her mouth, carrying it and swinging her head side to side, a behavior that bears do in extreme stress. The mother charged at the other bears, never dropping her precious possession. She wandered in this manner for a long time. We left her at dark still very unsettled, but she had finally placed her cub’s remains near a willow bush, protected from the wind.
It was indeed heartbreaking. We don’t really understand why this sometimes happens. But in my nine years of visiting Churchill, it is the first time I have seen this. Many of my colleagues who have been here for decades have not witnessed this. We don’t know why, but this is the third cub death this year caused by another bear. I can only hope this is not a sign of what is to come as we lose yet more ice to our warming climate.
JoAnne Simerson is a senior keeper at the San Diego Zoo.
Source & photo credits: JoAnne Simerson's blog
Related article: The Star.com/28.11.2009