Sea ice off Newfoundland thickest ever yet another polar bear comes ashore

Amid reports that ice conditions between Newfoundland and southern Labrador are the worst in living memory, another polar bear was reported ashore in the area — just after biologist Andrew Derocher explained to the CBC that bears only come on land when sea ice conditions “fail.”

“Ice too thick for coast guard’s heavy icebreaker,” said a 20 April 2017 CBC report on the state of ice in the Strait of Belle Isle. The pack is thick first-year ice (four feet thick or more in places) and embedded with icebergs of much older, thicker ice. The ice packed along the northern shore of Newfoundland is hampering fishermen from getting out to sea and is not expected to clear until mid-May.

NASA Worldview shows the extent of the pack ice over northwest Newfoundland and southern Labrador on 19 April 2017 (the Strait of Belle Isle is the bit between the two):

The same day that the above satellite image was taken (19 April), at the north end of the Strait on the Newfoundland side, a polar bear was spotted in a small community northwest of St. Anthony (marked below,  “Wildberry Country Lodge” at Parker’s Brook). It’s on the shore of north-facing Pistolet Bay on the Great Northern Peninsula, near the 1000-year-old Viking occupation site of L’Anse aux Meadows.

There were no photos of the Parker’s Brook bear but lots of others have been taken this year of almost a dozen seen along Newfoundland shorelines since early March: see my recently updated post, with an updated map of reported sightings. Harp seals are now abundant in the pack ice of southern Davis Strait, providing polar bears with an ample source of food when they need it most and therefore, a strong attractant to the area.

Yet, as I reported yesterday, polar bear specialist Andrew Derocher told the CBC this week that polar bears are almost always “forced” ashore by poor ice conditions. The CBC report included his tweet from 10 April, where he suggested “failed” Newfoundland ice conditions were the cause of multiple bears onshore in Newfoundland this year.

Similar thick ice conditions off northern Newfoundland (perhaps even worse) occurred in 2007, see Twillingate in the spring of 2007 below: Yet, in 2007 there was not a single polar bear reported onshore in Newfoundland (as far as I am aware) but

Yet, in 2007 there was not a single polar bear reported onshore in Newfoundland (as far as I am aware) but this year there were almost a dozen. And the photos took this year show fat, healthy bears – not animals struggling to survive.

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Comments (3)

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover

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    The eco-wackos during a seal and gosling a eating of little seal pups turnig a predator into the Stop Global Warming Mascot as i have seen them do in their silly little protests especialy groups like Greenpeace or some other eco-nut groups do

    Reply

    • Avatar

      G

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      On Saturday I drove past a Earth Day rally at a local park. It was pathetic.

      They were all huddled together with their manufactured signs bearing worn platitudes and silliness. The whole thing looked like a self-serving circle-twerk as they were busy convincing each other that they were “saving the planet” with their enlightenment and compassion.

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover

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    Next time you see some wacko with a THE EARTH IS YOUR MOTHER bumper or window sticker roll down your window spit on the ground and tell to them I JUST SPAT ON YOUR MOTHER

    Reply

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