Scientists Think Of Feeding Polar Bears

Canada News, Bear Hunting Magazine

This week several polar bear scientists released a published paper that they are considering asking to feed polar bears. Stating that this is just one of the options for the polar bear population around Hudson Bay, one of the most southerly populations.

A recent Nunavut government aerial survey suggested bear numbers around the bay are stable, but another study disagrees. They suggest the bears' condition is deteriorating and they are not producing enough cubs. They believe malnutrition may result in catastrophic population declines.

Feeding the bears is only one possible option the scientists released. They could be relocated, temporarily housed or culled to bring numbers down to what the environment can support. This has provoked a controversy in Nunavut, where the idea of feeding polar bears or interfering with them in any way goes against what the Inuit believe.

Those who live in the area think there is little chance of such a wildlife disaster happening any time soon. Bears are adaptable and there is enough terrain in Nunavut for bears to survive.

On the monetary side, by using figures from zoos that house polar bears currently, the scientists released calculations that it could cost nearly $1 million a month to distribute commercial bear chow to the southern Hudson Bay bears. And, feeding sites could create areas for disease or parasites to be spread. Ending a feeding program may also create more bear-human conflicts in the end.

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