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Polar bears numbers underestimated! ‘PBSG has been assigning a zero value to the unstudied areas, territory that encompasses as much as half of the bears’ geographic range’ – ‘The total count has been consistently under-estimated’

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Polar bears and the media

http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2014/6/11/polar-bears-and-the-media.html

At the Breakthrough Institute, Zac Unger looks at past misconceptions over what was known about polar bear numbers and seeks to lay the blame on the way these figures were reported:

What’s news isn’t the idea that polar bear totals are a best-guess estimate. Of course they are. What’s new is the emerging understanding by established polar bear scientists that they may have done themselves a disservice by tacitly allowing the public to treat their good-faith estimates as rigid facts. In proceedings, papers, and press availabilities, polar bear scientists have repeatedly referenced the 20,000+ number. But what was never made clear was that the PBSG has been assigning a zero value to the unstudied areas, territory that encompasses as much as half of the bears’ geographic range. A casual observer, even one who is fully invested in protecting polar bears, would be justifiably upset at discovering that the total count has been consistently under-estimated…

In fact, the standfirst to the article suggests that we don’t even know whether populations are going up or down:

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