Last week a heart-wrenching video was posted by National Geographic that showed a frail polar bear struggling to tread through the Canadian Arctic was posted on social media.
The video and even photos of the poor animal went viral garnering emotional responses from viewers wondering if there was anything that could be done. Not surprisingly, climate alarmists used the sad event to make their usual pitch that the polar bear’s condition was the result of human-induced climate change.
However, Slate published an article shortly after the incident was reported, in which one Canadian biologist who has worked in the Canadian Arctic for over ten years is quoted as saying the polar bear’s condition is the result of a serious medical condition and not the result of human-caused climate change:
Jeff W. Higdon is a wildlife biologist who has been working in the Canadian Arctic for more than a decade. When he first saw the images, he says he tried to ignore them—“manipulative” and “emotional” images like this circulate on the web all the time. But after being tagged by a local student-researcher seeking his comment, he decided to take his concerns to Twitter. “I thought the message was too simplified, basically,” Higdon told me. “And a little too over the top in the sense that, ‘This is what climate change looks like.’ “
What’s a more accurate read? For one thing, he says, during summertime, part of the Arctic is often ice-free. That’s due to seasonal changes, not climatic shifts. And while it can be hard to stomach never mind witness, animals starve to death all the time, for a million different reasons. “We may start to see more [climate-caused starvation] over time, but at this point, there’s no evidence I’m aware of that we’re seeing that,” Higdon adds.
Higdon’s best guess is that the bear was dying of bone cancer or some other disease. His hypothesis remains unverified since that would require further evidence to be substantiated—evidence that could have been collected. “My biggest issue with this is that we’ll never know what happened with that bear,” Higdon says. Instead of leaving after the photo session, he said he wished National Geographic had asked the local conservation officials to euthanize the animal (which he said would have been more humane at that point) and then perform a necropsy to determine scientifically the true cause of death—and to further the scientific understanding of the bear populations in that region.
Ultimately, Dr. Higdon states we really cannot tell what was the reason for the polar bear’s sad condition. Higdon also, correctly, states people should not jump to conclusions or automatically assume that an animal’s misfortune is the result of climate change. He said climate change increases the likelihood of such events, but it is tricky to tie a single, natural event to human-caused climate change.
Thsi is not the first time photographs like the one released last week have gotten press exposure. Two years ago, a Norwegian photographer took a picture of a very thin polar bear that ended up in the press. But that bear may have been elderly and not starving as originally thought.
None the less, this is the first time in a long time that polar bears are being used as propaganda to make the case that humans cause climate change. In the below video, polar bear expert Dr. Susan Crawford goes into how and why the animals are no longer used in the climate alarmists propaganda.