Resolutions from the 8th meeting of the PBSG in Oslo, Norway 1981

Res#1-1981: Population estimates

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Recognizing that population estimates for most subpopulations of polar bears are imprecise; and,

Recognizing that the quality of data and methods of estimating subpopulation sizes from the data vary from area to area; and,

Recognizing that better estimates of polar bear numbers throughout their range are needed to develop management programs and to provide protective measures as hunting and disturbance related to increased human activity occur throughout the Arctic;

Therefore urges that Signatory Nations to the Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears place high priority on obtaining and exchanging information which will increase reliability of estimates of sizes of subpopulations, and which, through coordinated international cooperation, will provide continuing world population estimates.

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Res#2-1981: Modelling of polar bear population data

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Recognizing that impending changes in human activities and associated changes in Arctic environments and over-harvesting may severely impact polar bear populations in the near future; and,

Recognizing that detailed information on polar bear population size, composition and dynamics will be essential to formulation of proper management responses to such impacts; and,

Recognizing that mathematical modelling of polar bear population data can be an important aid in estimating population size and understanding population dynamics;

Therefore urges nations signatory to the Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears to individually and cooperatively continue development and refinement of mathematical techniques describing the sizes and dynamics of polar bear populations.

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Res#3-1981: Polar bear - human interactions

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Recognizing that interactions between polar bears and humans can result in loss of human life, destruction of bears, and loss of property; and,

Recognizing that polar bear mortalities resulting from interactions with man can adversely affect bear management strategies and direct public opinion away from the need to conserve polar bears; and,

Recognizing that such interactions are likely to increase because of increased human activity in the Arctic;

Therefore resolves that all Signatory Nations to the Agreement on Conservation of Polar Bears should make immediate use of all available information in order to minimize interactions between polar bears and humans and urges those nations to conduct cooperative investigations aimed at minimizing polar bear - human interactions in the future.

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Res#4-1981: Development and use of telemetry techniques

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Recognizing that conventional and satellite telemetry are effective techniques to study ecology of polar bears; and,

Recognizing that existing systems of attaching transmitters to polar bears are not sufficiently reliable; and,

Recognizing that existing technology for satellite tracking needs significant improvement;

Therefore urges use of conventional and satellite telemetry to study polar bears and cooperative efforts to improve telemetry techniques.

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Res#5-1981: Polar bears and the marine ecosystem of Baffin Bay

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Noting that the marine mammals and birds of Baffin Bay are vital to the maintenance of the traditional way of life of the Inuit of the adjacent coasts of west Greenland and Canada; and,

Noting that little is known about the biology of the polar bears of that region in particular and of the marine ecosystem in general; and,

Noting that large scale year round shipping operations which include icebreaking through the winter as required and planned for the transport of hydrocarbons through the region;

Therefore calls attention to the fact that this ecosystem is potentially vulnerable to significant disruption and pollution from such activity; and,

Recommends that joint studies be undertaken by Canada, Denmark and Greenland upon the polar bears and their ecosystem in Baffin Bay, with a view toward the identification and protection of critical habitat prior to disturbance and establishment of baseline values against which the potential effects of disturbance could be evaluated so that recommendations can be made to minimize detrimental effects.

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Res#6-1981: Expression of thanks

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group,

Noting the fine organization, warm hospitability, and excellent facilities at their eight meeting in Oslo, which contributed greatly to the success of the meeting;

Therefore wish to thank the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment, the Norwegian Polar Institute, and the IUCN for planning and hosting the meeting and providing facilities; and also wish to thank Dr. John Tener for his skillful chairing of the meeting.

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