Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Polar Bear Gone By 2100?

I Love Polar Bears.  Do You?

Do you recall the polar bear Aussie at the Brookfield Zoo?  Sue and I loved him.  He was euthanized in 2017 after a life of nearly 32 years at the zoo.

That’s a remarkable life-span for a Polar Bear, but he was a remarkable animal.  My wife and I used to go there to watch him glide effortlessly in the pool of water like a sleek-leviathan Olympian swimmer gliding back to the blocks. Aussie always lifted his back leg in the water in some kind of signature and frivolous show for the audiences.  

Brought to Brookfield from Australia in the 1980’s, Aussie’s life of 32 years would be the equivalent of well over 100 in human years according to then vice president of clinical medicine for the Chicago Zoological Society. 

I hope children today will be able to see such natural wonder.

I hope that such a wonder can remain naturally.

Given the loss of habitat in polar regions, Polar Bears International now predicts the likelihood that two-thirds of Polar Bears will be gone by 2050, and, if unchecked climate change continues, the loss of the wild species by 2100.

But then came Trump, enter stage Far Right.

The current administration is now opening oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  “The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the largest and wildest of our nation’s wildlife refuges. The Coastal Plain is the biological heart of the Refuge, providing essential habitat for a variety of wildlife, including imperiled polar bears, the Porcupine caribou herd and hundreds of species of migratory birds. It is an area sacred to the Gwich’in nation, who depend on the Refuge for their way of life.” 

In order to satisfy oil companies and locate possible oil reserves in this once protected eco-system, the various companies seeking oil for greater oil corporations will begin a winter assault on the land using seismic explorationsto determine the likelihood of oil reserves.  In other words, companies employed by oil corporations will be making large scale sensor impacts in the banks and grounds to detect possible reserves.  The companies, led by SAExploration, will “along with our partners, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC) and Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation (KIC), (be) pleased to submit their plan of operations for the Marsh Creek 3D Program. Together ASRC, KIC, and SAE, through its joint venture with the Kuukpik Corporation (Kuukpik-SAE), are in the process of forming a joint venture, Iñupiat Geophysical Partnership, LLC. SAE is requesting permits on behalf of its partners to conduct a seismic survey within the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) beginning during the winter season of 2018- 2019 initially.  My underline

According to many researchers, America is about to become the top producer if crude oil, without needing to drill in the Arctic National Refuge. But American becoming great again is about pillaging, not conserving. 

Unfortunately for the diminishing populations of Polar Bears, this unnecessary search for new oil reserves in a once protected area will negatively affect the many breeding female polar bears which burrow into the snow and land to birth their young in the winter/spring.  It’s not just the habitat; now, it’s their breeding grounds which will be under pressure by exploitation.

Research provided by Steven C. Amstrup indicates that the influence of disturbance, including seismic events over and around Polar Bear dens will result in catastrophic loss of life to younger cubs and new-born cubs during the winter to spring months.  “Reluctance to abandon a den can be viewed as ‘tolerance’ of disturbances near dens, and bears may just hold tight and be fine while industrial activities occur nearby. But when the disturbance is both intensive and expansive, like 3D seismic testing, that apparent tolerance could have negative consequences. Available observations illustrate that some bears will not leave until
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the den is actually invaded. Whether from an innate feeling of security in a den or habituation to noises and vibrations of vehicles moving around them; the ‘comfort level’ many polar bears show with activities outside their dens could result in waiting too long to leave a den when the disturbance is truly dangerous for them. It seems the heavy vehicle and activities associated with surveying the seismic lines only 65 meters from the den described above were the impetus for this bear to emerge, her behavior and other observations suggest however her den could have been runover had the seismic survey path been displaced 65 meters. In that circumstance, even if the female bear was able to leave a den ahead of oncoming vehicles, her departure threshold might have been exceeded so suddenly as to prompt hurried evacuation resulting in cubs being left behind and either crushed or abandoned. “

SAExploration promises to have a biologist hired by SAExplorations on hand to make sure all goes well.  They’ll also listen to concerns by local Native Community people.  Sound promising to you?

Me neither.  

Of course, Republicans and the Koch Bros. have tried over 50 times to get into the ANWR to drill.  Now they’re there.

You might want to call about this if you are concerned.

Department of Energy: Rick Perry – 202 586 5000 

White House: 202 456 1111

The Alaskan Officials involved: 
Ted Smith
Operations Supervisor 907-522-4499 907-301-5434 cell

Suzan Simonds
Permits and Regulatory Manager 907-522-4499
907-331-8140 cell

Rick Trupp
General Manager of Alaska 907-522-4499 
Oversight Panel Suzan Simonds 907-522-4499 907-331-8140 


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