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« David Davies does climate change | Main | Guardian's gargantuan garbage »
Thursday
Jun112015

The desperation of the polar bear scientist

According to New Scientist, some scientists recently discovered a polar bear eating a dolphin. This is not really a surprise since by all accounts polar bears will eat pretty much anything they can lay their paws on. Still, for the polar bear specialist it is a good opportunity to try to push a global warming story, so at the end of the article we get this:

As the climate warms, [polar bear specialist Ian] Stirling believes the sight of polar bears tucking into weird meals could become more common. Polar bears are "willing to take and use anything possible when available", he says.

Which just goes to show how low polar bear scientists will go in their desperation to keep the funds flowing.

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Reader Comments (42)

Polar bears are willing to take and use anything possible when available.
... the sight of polar bears tucking into weird meals could become more common.

1. If they'll take "anything possible" why is eating a dolphin "weird"?
2. If they'll take "anything possible" why would anything "weird" become "more common"?

Obviously letting the right side of your brain know what's going on in the left side is not a pre-requisite for being a "polar bear scientist"!

PS Mrs J (who lays no claim to being a "polar bear scientist") says that since dolphins have always been around what is weird about polar bears eating them? What would have been "weird", she says, is if one had been caught eating a BigMac!

Jun 11, 2015 at 9:57 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

So are there too many polar bears or too few dolphins?
And how do we decide?

Jun 11, 2015 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterMCourtney

Yawnnnn....

Wake me up when you have a picture of a polar bear eating a penguin...

Jun 11, 2015 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Although very good killing machines Polar Bears has no issue at all with being scavenges eating what ever they come across , indeed in their environment such an approach can only be of benefit. This includes the carcasses of any animal that washes up , such has whales.
So its normal behaviour in action and should such cases increase 'due to climate doom ' then for the Polar Bears will be nothing but happy and their numbers are likley to increase.

Should this fail we could recommend that 'hug a Polar Bear ' is promoted as an idea to those greens who have made this killing machine and icon of 'the cause ' , that way the Polar Bears get feed and we get less green nuts to worry about , while others get a better idea of just how 'cute' this animals really are . A winning idea all around .

Jun 11, 2015 at 10:03 AM | Unregistered Commenterknr

According to the article:

The first incident was in late April 2014. Collecting data in Svalbard, Norway, Aars's team stumbled across a bear with two dead white-beaked dolphins, a species no one had ever seen the bears preying upon before.

...

"We were surprised as dolphins have not been reported in that area before," says Aars. The explanation could be that the Svalbard waters were unusually warm at the time, and that a pod of dolphins had become trapped there when strong northerly winds had pushed them out of open water and in among the ice.

From this article about White Beaked Dolphins

During the summer they move northward, and can be found right up to the ice edges on both sides of the Atlantic. In Svalbard they are most commonly sighted from Bjørnøya and up to Sørkapp, but this species can visit boats anywhere along the coasts of Spitsbergen during the summer months.

White Beaked dolphins aren't that uncommon in Svalbard. What appears to be uncommon is for man, dolphin and polar bear to be in the same area at the same time for this event to happen and be witnessed.

Jun 11, 2015 at 10:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Dodgy Geezer

Wake me up when they have a picture of a dolphin eating a polar bear.

Or a polar bear scientist.

Jun 11, 2015 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

I've noticed people eating odd things. What's the world coming to?
===========

Jun 11, 2015 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Dodgy Geaser et al.

Try entering polar bear eats penguin into any search engine - there's lots of pictures!

(There's even one of a polar-bear-eating penguin!)

Jun 11, 2015 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Bates

The good news is that Polar Bears are quite happy to eat green activists so I think we should encourage all such to rush off to the Arctic where they can be of real service to the Polar Bear population - as lunch :)

Jun 11, 2015 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterKeithW

Can't see the porpoise myself....

Jun 11, 2015 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

I always thought polar bears didn't eat penguins because they had trouble getting the wrappers off.

Jun 11, 2015 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Tolson

Just wait until one of the climate kooks gets stranded on some Arctic shoreline while doing some important demonstration of how CO2 is destroying the world and gets eaten by a polar bear.

Jun 11, 2015 at 11:10 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Would anyone else be unsurprised to witness a polar bear eating a climate scientist?

After all, climate scientists haven't been around forever, so the above event may really be 'weird'. But anything that reduces the risk of polar bear extinction can't be all bad.

Jun 11, 2015 at 11:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

...Dodgy Geaser et al.

Try entering polar bear eats penguin into any search engine - there's lots of pictures!

(There's even one of a polar-bear-eating penguin!)...

Quick! Pass me my grant-application forms...

Jun 11, 2015 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

I can only assume that the people that fund these people are even more moronic. Isn't there some value for money test involved?

Jun 11, 2015 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

Before global warming, there is no record of seagulls eating McDonald's in the UK, which proves conclusively that with global warming you can prove most things you want, to get more funding.

Jun 11, 2015 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Kudos to that bear for being able to catch a dolphin,assuming it was alive, healthy, and unarmed at the time.

Jun 11, 2015 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Here's what the scientists are quoted as saying:


"We think the bear killed them, [using] a similar technique as killing seals,"

"We think he caught the second dolphin because he could, and then had extra food later,"

"We were surprised as dolphins have not been reported in that area before,"

"They will eat any marine mammal given a chance,"

"The bigger surprise was that the dolphins were entrapped before they could migrate south for the winter."

"willing to take and use anything possible when available"


Is there anything desperate in any of that? Is there anything "low" in that? Did they push for extra funding? Did they use the word "weird"? It smacks more of a Bishop being desperate to hold on to his shrinking congregation by making weird accusations.

Jun 11, 2015 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

Raff, I wonder if the polar bear expert could answer a more interesting question I recently saw asked of Michael Vaughan, ex-England cricket captain: "Who would win a fight between a polar bear and a shark?"

Jun 11, 2015 at 2:03 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

"We were surprised"

I'm surprised at their surprise. I thought Poley Bear scientists knew everthang.

Andrew

Jun 11, 2015 at 2:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

Raff, you are quite correct that there is nothing weird about any of it. It just goes to prove New Scientist will print anything, if there is a Global Warming horror story. Why don't you write to the editor and point out how stupid this story makes him look?

The problem here is that you can not buy dolphin in tins that polar bears can open. Can we have polar bear friendly tinned dolphin, as research shows that dolphin friendly tinned tuna, has not caught on with those imaginative polar bears.

Jun 11, 2015 at 2:33 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

"The bigger surprise was that the dolphins were entrapped before they could migrate south for the winter."

So it was really about global cooling?

Jun 11, 2015 at 3:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

IDAU...

It's surprises and bigger surprises for Poley Bear scientists these days! How exciting! WTF is going on!

LOL ;)

Andrew

Jun 11, 2015 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

Bad Andrew and It doesn't add up..

You would have thought the polar bear scientists could have given the dolphins a lift, if they were heading south for winter. Unless of course their boat was stuck in unforeseen ice, as seems to be increasingly likely with global warming experts.

Jun 11, 2015 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

michael hart 14.03, I supposed Vaughan should have pointed out that home territory is a great advantage in sport and other life or death struggles

Jun 11, 2015 at 4:10 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

So, the dolphins caught the media's attention. A similar anecdotal account in another recent paper, by Stirling and a professional photographer, of the "longest ever" underwater swim by a polar bear (caught on video!), didn't seem to get much traction.

Polar bear biologist Andrew Derocher is the only one of the group that has an active twitter account. He's been busy over the last few weeks trying to drum up alarm over the pattern of sea ice melt in Western Hudson Bay (which is admittedly unusual but alarming? Too early to tell, I say), and in the Beaufort Sea.

Have a look, it's quite amusing. He's never responded to any comments or questions, mine or anyone else, so far.

But he has so far always tweeted something pessimistic soon after I do a blog post showing the conditions in historical context.

https://twitter.com/AEDerocher

Susan

Jun 11, 2015 at 4:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterSusan Crockford

If a tree falls in the woods and no-one is there to see it, is it caused by global warming?

Jun 11, 2015 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterBuck

You missed the real story. The polar bear thought it was eating tuna, thus revealing how evil Japanese fishermen can be.

Jun 11, 2015 at 4:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Norman

Jeff Norman, you are clearly missing the point. Tins of dolphin friendly tuna have been sold for years. This leaves all the tuna that are unfriendly to dolphins in the sea. Can we be surprised that dolphins choose to hang out in areas not populated by aggressive, beer swilling tuna, that are always picking fights with innocent marine mammals?

Jun 11, 2015 at 6:13 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Just wait until next week; WWF, FoE and/or Greenpiss will have a new TV advertising campaign, asking punters to give up their hard-earned cash to save the dolphins from being decimated by starving polar bears as a result of AGW.

Jun 11, 2015 at 6:18 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Salopian, and if it wasn't for man's interference, and popularisation of the word 'decimated', the polar bears would have eaten less than 10%, but they thought 10% was their quota target to guarantee publicity.

Jun 11, 2015 at 7:01 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I seem to remember a press report about a polar bear eating a schoolboy from Eton.

Jun 11, 2015 at 9:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Constable

"Here's what the scientists are quoted as saying:

"We think the bear killed them, [using] a similar technique as killing seals,"
"We think he caught the second dolphin because he could, and then had extra food later,"
"We were surprised as dolphins have not been reported in that area before,"
"They will eat any marine mammal given a chance,"
"The bigger surprise was that the dolphins were entrapped before they could migrate south for the winter."
"willing to take and use anything possible when available"

Is there anything desperate in any of that? Is there anything "low" in that? Did they push for extra funding? Did they use the word "weird"? It smacks more of a Bishop being desperate to hold on to his shrinking congregation by making weird accusations.

Jun 11, 2015 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff "

"We think ..." - lacks knowledge, science and research.

"We think he ..." - lacks knowledge, science and research.

"We were surprised as dolphins have not been reported in that area before,"
- lacks knowledge, science and research; especially as it has already been quickly established that dolphins have been that area, even that specific species.

"They will eat any marine mammal ..." They are omnivores and will eat virtually anything! Again, lacks knowledge, science and research.

"The bigger surprise ..." Oh wait! In other words, they already know about dolphins in the area? And that dolphins can be trapped by surface ice conditions.

"willing to take and use ..." Oh, that basic description of an omnivore again.

Fast, loose, vague words from supposedly knowledgeable researchers; yes, very desperate.

The same goes for clueless trolls impugning the good Bishop and his visitors. Visitors who are amazed how the clueless fall for the anti-science weasel words of false researchers.

Jun 11, 2015 at 11:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterATheoK

Mike Jackson says:
"What would have been "weird", she says, is if one had been caught eating a BigMac!"

Now that would make a really good Josh cartoon

Jun 12, 2015 at 12:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterMr Bliss

Polar bears are "willing to take and use anything possible when available"

So is Tom Karl, but that doesn't make him endangered.....

Jun 12, 2015 at 2:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

"The bigger surprise was that the dolphins were entrapped before they could migrate south for the winter."

Presumably an enormous surprise given they were entrapped by non-existent ice which has all melted away in our warming world!

Things ONLY happen because we are changing the climate, how could it be any other way. Prepare yourself for the day when scientists discover bear 5h!t is the woods because of AGW.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterHR

What it has the flavour of is one of those rather cliched stories of pre-Enlightenment societies. Ruled by a shamanic elite, any unusual natural phenomena ( an eclipse, volcano, a rain of frogs or a cow grazing with a bear(!) ) is interpreted as a sign of our wrongdoing for which we must pay a price. Keep a close eye on any beloved virgins in your life!

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterHR

the doplhin probably had an indigestion eating too much food and
lost its guard? oh wait that is on the wrong side of
warmish irrefutable science innit

there goes my position in the fascist state

Jun 12, 2015 at 10:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterWortSalad

If a polar bear ate a climate scientist would that be evidence of global warming? After all, 150 years ago polar bears did not eat climate scientists.

Jun 12, 2015 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterTmitsss

I've just got a post up about this paper, and another related one:

http://polarbearscience.com/2015/06/12/polar-bear-behaviour-gets-the-animal-tragedy-porn-treatment-two-new-papers/

with a surprise ending you might enjoy!

Susan

Jun 12, 2015 at 7:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterSusan Crockford

There have been records of polar bears eating marine mammals like killer whales for years and I'd be amazed if those who have come into contact with the bears were unaware of the phenomenon. Usually it happens when the whale or dolphin gets stranded or beached. No self respecting bear will pass up on the chance of large amounts of meat for little effort.

Jun 13, 2015 at 9:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Nottingham

Cant wait for the headline Polar Bear eats Eco Warrior.

Jun 15, 2015 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

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