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Five facts that challenge polar bear hybridization nonsense
#1
Polar Bear Science

May 23,2016

by Dr. Susan J. Crockford

Selected Excerpt:

Here are the five points you need to know about polar bear hybridization, as there are several nonsense statements contained in this Washington Post article.

UPDATE 24 May 2016: References adding below regarding grizzly sightings south of Churchill on the west coast of Hudson Bay (H/T Doug Clark).

1) Polar bear territory is not contracting
Steven Amstrup, head spokesperson for Polar Bears International (“Save Our Sea Ice!”)
“[Steven Amstrup], like other experts, characterizes this “new” bear relationship as more beneficial to grizzlies than polar bears. That’s because there are more grizzlies than polar bears and because grizzly territory is expanding while polar bear territory is contracting. What that adds up to is a good chance grizzlies could essentially dilute the polar bear population until it doesn’t exist at all, they say.”

Polar bear territory is contracting” is a nonsense statement that is totally false. I dealt with a related claim here.
Territory might be prophesied to contract decades from now but so far, it hasn’t changed a bit as a result of sea ice changes since 1950. The regions where hybridization has been documented (Doupé et al. 2007, see map in refs. below) are still polar bear territory, as is the region where the latest putative hybrid was shot (still not confirmed by DNA). All of the polar bear regions adjacent to grizzly populations in Canada have stable or increasing polar bear populations.

[Image: ec_polarbearstatusmapcanada_oct-26-2014.jpg?w=500]

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