Narrative Stress: Russian's Count Record Number of Polar Bears on Popular Summer Retreat - Granite Grok

Narrative Stress: Russian’s Count Record Number of Polar Bears on Popular Summer Retreat

Polar bear (waving) Photo by Hans-Jurgen Mager on Unsplash

The notion that declining ice at the north pole is stressing out polar bears is suffering from stress all its own. Russian researchers took an annual count of Polar bears on Wrangle Island and found record-setting numbers.


Many Chukchi Sea polar bears spend the summer on Wrangel Island and a survey there conducted by Russian researchers in 2020 reportedly collected data on a record 747 bears, well up from the 589 reportedly counted in 2017 by the same team (photo below is from 2015).



Well, I can see at least two of them from my front porch. Either the sea ice stress theory is a lie, and the bears could care less, or there’s plenty of ice when it matters.

Neither of these fits the required narrative.


The number of bears taking refuge on Wrangel Island during the summer clearly varies year to year. This variability may be a function of local sea ice conditions, which also vary year to year, rather than reflecting the overall numbers of bears in the subpopulation. However, contrary to predictions that lack of ice year after year should cause population stress, counts of bears on Wrangel Island in ‘high-bear’ years have clearly increased since 2007 despite a corresponding decline in summer sea ice.

This year (at 19 September 2021), Wrangel Island is still almost surrounded by ice, as it was earlier this month, which may mean that fewer bears have spent the summer on the island. We won’t know until next year, when this summer’s survey results are released, if that has been the case or not.


But the band will play on…or find a new tune with the same goal. Separate people from their money and their liberty by any means possible.