WaPo: Polar Bears ‘Hurt By Climate Change’ Could Develop A Taste For Human Flesh

The Washington Post is out with a shocking headline based on a study claiming currently “rare” polar bear attacks on humans could become more frequent due to man-made global warming.

“Polar bears hurt by climate change are more likely to turn to a new food source — humans” is the rather chilling headline WaPo went with in its article, published Thursday. The Post reported that with higher temperatures, “the more likely polar bears are to interact with humans — and possibly attack and eat them.”

WaPo relied on a recently-published study in the Wildlife Society Bulletin that looked at recorded polar bear attacks going back to 1870. The authors found “no trend” in the number of attacks by decade through 2014, which you’d think would count against the claim that bear attacks increase with less ice, but you thought wrong.

Instead, the study’s authors argue the “frequency” of attacks, which they say may be increasing. The report also found that “nutritionally stressed adult male polar bears were the most likely to pose threats to human safety.”

The study claims “the greatest number of polar bear attacks occurred in the partial decade of 2010 — 2014, which was characterized by historically low summer sea ice extent and long ice-free periods.”

Polar bears rely on Arctic sea ice to hunt seals, so projections of shrinking sea ice coverage mean more bears could be forced inland. If that happens, there’s an increased chance starving polar bears will meet up with humans.

Study authors say this could increase the chances of humans becoming polar bear food.

“But a bear’s still got to eat,” Geoff York, a study co-author who works for the activist group Polar Bears International, told WaPo. “They’re more likely to try new things, and sometimes, that might be us.”

So, should people worry about being eaten on their morning Arctic stroll? Veteran zoologist Susan Crockford argued the “data used in the paper are seriously skewed and in my opinion this totally invalidates the authors’ conclusions.”

Crockford, an expert on polar bears, wrote on her blog PolarBearScience.com the authors’ claim that polar bear attacks are rare is based on skewed data. The authors relied on modern, record accounts of polar bear attacks that completely ignore attacks on Inuits who lived in close proximity to the animals for centuries.

“How could any Arctic scholar not know that formerly-abundant Inuit inhabitants of North American and Greenland … traditionally hunted the same marine mammals as polar bears, using the same sea ice platforms as the bears? Many Inuit still do,” Crockford wrote Thursday.

Crockford also noted the paper tries to blame sea ice decline for polar bear attacks by ignoring “a biologically valid explanation for the apparent increase in hungry young male polar bears that have attacked people over the last few years.”

Crockford wrote there’s an “increased risk stemming from the larger proportion of adult males that now exist in protected populations.”

Read more at Daily Caller

Comments (10)

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover

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    Maybe they’ll develop a taste for Greenpeace idiots or NRDC nit-wits running around dressed as polarbears

  • Avatar

    rakooi

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    SPURNING PLOVER never stops spewing hate and demonizing everyone that disagrees with Her Highness PLOVER.
    .
    “American Meteorological Society
    .
    21 June 2017
    Rick Perry, Secretary
    Department of Energy
    1000 Independence Ave, SW
    Washington, DC 20585
    .
    Dear Secretary Perry,
    In a recent CNBC interview, you stated that you do not agree that carbon dioxide is the primary driver of the global warming that is evident in the temperature records over recent decades.

    While you acknowledged that the climate is changing and that humans are having an impact on it, it is critically important that you understand that emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are the PRIMARY CAUSE.

    This is a conclusion based on the comprehensive assessment of scientific evidence.
    It is based on multiple independent lines of evidence that have been affirmed by thousands of independent scientists and numerous scientific institutions around the world.

    We are not familiar with ANY scientific institution with relevant subject matter expertise that has reached ANY different conclusion.

    These indisputable findings have shaped our current AMS Statement on Climate Change,
    which states
    1: It is clear from extensive scientific evidence that the dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past half century is HUMAN-INDUCED increases in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), chlorofluorocarbons, methane, and nitrous oxide.
    The most important of these over the long term is CO2, whose concentration in the atmosphere is rising principally as a result of fossil-fuel combustion and deforestation.

    Without this fundamental understanding of the science,
    it is impossible to discuss potential policy changes in meaningful ways.

    DOE programs have a major role to play in developing and informing the solutions for our nation’s future energy needs,
    so it is especially important that the best possible science and understanding is applied to policy issues with respect to DOE programs.

    In the interview you also mentioned that it should be quite acceptable to be a skeptic about aspects of the science.

    We agree, and would add that skepticism and debate are always welcome and are critically important to the advancement of science. As noted in a different AMS Statement

    2: Because of the skeptical nature of scientists, new ideas are accepted very slowly and only after a great deal of scrutiny.

    In fact, what authority science achieves is based on the openness by which scientific results are presented for review, evaluation, and additional testing.

    In climate science unresolved questions remain
    —issues that currently lack conclusive evidence.

    However, there are also very solid conclusions that are based on decades of research and multiple lines of evidence.

    Skepticism that fails to account for evidence is no virtue.

    As noted above, the role of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as the primary driver for the warming the Earth has experienced over the past several decades is
    EXTREMELY WELL-ESTABLISHED.

    The American Meteorological Society and its members have been studying these issues for many years.
    We stand ready to work with you or your staff to explore how the science can be used effectively to address policy issues related to energy and climate for the benefit of the nation and the world. “

    • Avatar

      David Lewis

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      Sorry, but there is a very poor correlation between carbon dioxide levels and the earth’s average temperature. About 40% of the warming blamed on mankind occurred between 1910 and 1941 when the carbon dioxide level was lower not rising rapidly. In the past 18 years we have had a pause in warming despite rapidly increasing carbon dioxide levels. There are many other examples of temperature changes that do not correspond to carbon dioxide levels.

  • Avatar

    GaryD

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    Polar Bears haven’t been hurt by climate change, nor has anyone else.

  • Avatar

    JayPee

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    What’s with the ridiculous surmise
    ” could develop a taste for human flesh ” ?!

    Anyone who believes that should go one on one with
    ursus maritimus sometime.

    SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

    WaPo actually printed that stupidity ?

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover

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    Rakooi don’t get your panties in a bind there just becuase you read too much poppycock from the various eco-wacko groups

  • Avatar

    Sonnyhill

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    Nowhere do they say what amount of temperature increase belongs to CO2 alone. Nor do they answer if the solutions are worth the sacrifices. That’s what helped elect Trump. People want someone else to pay.
    Bill Nye told Tucker Carlson that humans were responsible for 100% of the temperature increase. OOPS.

    • Avatar

      Sonnyhill

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      Above is directed at Rakooi, not the article

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover

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    Bill Nye is a total fake as authentic as a 4 dollar bill with sawdust for brains and someone pulling his strings

  • Avatar

    David Lewis

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    What is this non-sense about Polar Bears developing a taste for human flesh? They have always had taste for human flesh.

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