February 7, 2023

Jim Beers: Polar Bear Mythology Redux

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*Editor’s Note* Over the years, and in particular 2008, I covered extensively polar bears and the dog and pony show that then President George W. “I love to Spend Money” Bush entertained us with in declaring the polar bear a “threatened” species under the Endangered Species Act. This was a fine example of how ignorance, corruption, special interest, greed and money have hijacked and destroyed legislation intended to protect actual endangered species and not increase bank accounts.

Polar bears may have never been threatened but today that doesn’t stop the opportunity to exploit a species for more sinister goals.

Below is an article written by Jim Beers in reference to an article published in the Wall Street Journal about polar bears; one that asks the question, “Are Polar Bears Really Disappearing?” As you will read, Beers points out that for the last several decades the population of polar bears globally has actually remained unchanged, with what one could argue as normal fluctuations that occur due to local circumstances. There is one other issue in the Wall Street Journal article that I wanted to mention that I think is of utmost importance for readers to understand.

One night as Churchill’s “bear season” was gearing up, I sat down with Kevin Burke, a man who has lived with polar bears all his life, as both a Churchill native and a ranger in the deep bush country. He has also spent countless hours assisting the Ph.D.’s who study bears and predict their imminent demise. “I’m just starting to resent being told that I’m not seeing what I know abso-flipping-lutely damn well that I’m seeing with my own eyes,” he said (using considerably more colorful language). With polar bears, it’s not always black and white.

This is one of the problems that exist today. So-called scientists with an agenda – perhaps fueled and funded by special interest, seeking outcome based ‘science’, disregarding and even demonizing boots on the ground reality.

Here is Mr. Beers article.

While interesting and worth the read, Zac Unger’s article to plug his book on polar bears has one very shaky foundation. His statement, “Almost everybody agrees there are between 20.000 and 25,000 polar bears alive today. That number is a whole lot bigger than it was 40 years ago.” Not so.

In 1972 when there was legislation (Marine Mammal Protection Act) being composed in Congress, I shared an office on K Street in Washington with the newly appointed Marine Mammal Coordinator of the US Fish & Wildlife Service. As environmental claims flew about these bears and manatees and seals, et al, I asked about polar bear numbers that were claimed to be around 5,000 worldwide. He laughed and said although counts were poor, “there are probably about 20,000 worldwide”. Passage of the MMPA in that year stopped polar bear hunts while assuring hunters and Alaska and other nations that wanted to continue hunting as revenue generators and bear management programs that, “when ‘Optimum Sustainable Populations’ were established, hunting would be re-allowed.” OSP was never established and hunting never permitted.

In 2008, the Bush Administration declared polar bears “Threatened” under the Endangered Species Act to throw a biscuit to environmental claimants that “global warming was melting (all?) the sea ice and dooming polar bears.” Like federal claims about wolves, polar bear “facts” are mainly environmental mythology, hidden agendas and government growth propaganda disguised as Armageddon and good intentions.

Jim Beers

8 February 2013

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority.