Polar bears are the iconic species in the Arctic. Many books have been published in the past on polar bears covering many topics ranging from pure photography to ecology and protection. The latest book written by polar expert Morten Jørgensen goes a different way. Instead of just recapitating facts on the ecology of bears and how they can be protected, he presents facts why the protection measurements on polar bears in many areas have failed and which improvements need to be taken to ameliorate the situation. He uncovers and presents how scientific data was misused for the sake of economics and to the disadvantage of the bears. But he also presents ideas how to improve the situation and how all of us can work together to save the king from its downfall.
Visitors of the Arctic always hope to spot the undisputed king of the Arctic, a polar bear, preferably from a safe distance. Only a handful of creatures have the ability to fascinate and to enchant people at the same time. Arctic peoples both fear and revere the largest terrestrial animal due to its power and its ability to survive. Numerous stories and myths exist in the tradition of Inuit while tons of scientific publications and picture books have tried to unravel the mysteries around polar bears.
The latest book about polar bears titled “Polar Bears on the Edge” by Morten Jørgensen goes a bit further than just telling stories or exploring the lifestyle of the King of the Arctic. Polar bears are facing massive changes of their environment and will have to master these changes in addition to their hard natural life. Climate change, pollution and hunting threaten this iconic species. The author, Morten Jørgensen, illustrates how current legislations of Arctic nations are too weak to properly protect polar bears from the threats of the 21st century. He emphasizes especially the danger which comes from hunting, which can send polar bears over the edge of extinction faster than pollution or climate change.
On the one hand, Jørgensen describes in detail and very factual the current knowledge on population sizes of polar bears in their various habitats, presents the facts on dangers and protection measurements. On the other hand, he relentlessly describes the failures of these protection measurements, denounces the misinterpretation of scientific data and the entanglement of science and policy with economics which are the basis of the failed measurements. The author also is not afraid to touch tricky subjects such as the traditional polar bear hunt of Inuit and to judge the value of this hunt. However, Morten Jørgensen emphasizes that his statements are not an attack on the traditional lifestyles of Arctic peoples. He rather pleads for a new and fact-based dialogue between the various fractions and thus to determine a new and untreated way to adequately protect polar bears. He also pleads for a dismantlement of science, policy and economy to ensure that future generations have the possibility to enjoy the King of the Arctic in his natural environment instead of in stories and books only.
For twenty years, Morten Jørgensen has been traveling the Arctic as an expedition leader or as a guide on small vessels and expeditions. His knowledge and expertise comprises especially the biological and ecological aspects on the High Arctic. During his years in the Arctic, he participated in various projects on tourism, guide management and effects of climate change on the Arctic, thereby learning about different opinions and views from locals, politicians, scientists and economists. He publishes now his experiences and conclusions in his first book.
Title: „Polar Bears on the Edge“
Author: Morten Jørgensen
Pages: 235, Paperback