My home town is ground zero for the fight to save the polar bear. Of all the nineteen populations of polar bears identified world wide the bears of Churchill are being singled out as the population suffering the most from a wonky climate and the first that will disappear off the face of the earth.....in fifteen to twenty years. It is a hard pill to swallow considering how intelligent and resourceful these bears are. It will take more than the extrapolation of selective data to convince me.
Conservation organizations that claim to be saving the polar bears from extinction want to hold Churchill bears up to the world as an example of mans excess ...they want everyone to look at these starving animals and feel the guilt ...problem is they can't find any starving polar bears to show anyone... hungry bears yes...what bear is not hungry... but is the Churchill population of polar bears near death by lack of food...not by a long shot.
One prominent conservation organization came across a mother who was very sick and unable to feed her two cubs; both near death from starvation. Over a period of three days they filmed this family group, the video showed a young cub wracked with convulsions and finally dying as did the mom and remaining cub. This video was sent to the climate change meetings in Durban as an example not of polar bears dying from the effects of climate change but what a polar bear would look like if it was to die of starvation due to climate change. That in itself sent a message that in my mind was loud and clear. The immediate well being of these animals is not the main priority. The value was not in rescuing the starving cubs but in showing them dying and dead.
As long as we don't save them to death this group of polar bears are handling whatever mother nature has thrown at them well. It is what we as human beings throw at them that will be their downfall. Let me continue in real time, what is happening to the bears now. I do not deny that extremities in the weather are causing additional burdens on this group of bears but I do not buy into the hysteria over their inevitable extinction prophesied by organizations that have agendas other than the immediate well being of the Churchill polar bear.
In real time these polar bears are being studied to near exhaustion, no group of bears on the planet has been subject to the assault and battery this group has endured for the past thirty years. The accessibility of these bears makes them the equivalent of the lab rat, the Rhesus monkey. Being chased by helicopter and shot with a tranquillizer dart is something these bears face from the time they are born until they die. The processing once they are “down” from the powerful tranquillizing drug is in itself a degradation; they are shaved, milked, tagged tattooed and painted not forgetting the pulling of teeth and the rectal thermometer. This process is ongoing and has not stopped year in and year out. The single most traumatic experience a mother with new born cubs is faced with is what she and her cubs are put through all in the name of science. This method of collecting information is not without its dangers, the eight inch dart can and does miss the mark and ends up embedded in the bears stomach causing serous injury and deaths, heat exhaustion from trying to escape the helicopter, drowning and broken legs are all real injuries sustained by these bears. Polar bears suffer pain the same as we do, only difference being they suffer pain straight up. When does the collecting of data become less important than the trauma and pain the animal has to endure to get it. If the Churchill bears are near extinction because of the stresses of a rapidly changing climate do you not think adding to that stress at this time would reduce any hope at all of them coping and adapting to stay alive. Leave the bears alone, let them recover on their own terms. The processes of science is not always justifiable.
In real time: next I will fill you in on the new polar bear rehabilitation center that has just opened up. The collecting of wild polar bears in need of rehabilitation is not so much driven by compassion but by the need of acquiring wild polar bears to meet the demand of zoo's throughout the world. And where are they getting the wild bears from..... Churchill.