. . . that braised polar bear is “delicious” — at least according to Nathan Myhrvold of the Freakanomics blog at NYTimes.com. Myhrvold makes himself feel better by telling himself that if he didn’t eat the bear, it would have starved to death as the one he ate was one of those escaping from Greenland on an ice flow:
However, this case was a bit different. Polar bears live on pack ice (i.e. ice that forms on top of the sea rather than on land) far to the north of where I was in south Greenland. When the pack ice breaks up in the spring, some bears get marooned on floating islands of pack ice and ride them south. The two bears that wound up in Iceland did that. Once they reach the south, they are doomed – there is no pack ice so they can’t hunt seals. They starve to death.
In principle one could dart and airlift those bears back north, but in practice there aren’t funds for this so the bears are shot. The bear we were eating was killed a few weeks prior to our visit.
So, moral hazards aside, I tasted the polar bear – it was coarse textured meat, probably from the leg, and Salik was right, it was delicious.
Salik was Myhrvold’s guide on Greenland, and for the record, is a global-warming skeptic:
I’d like to say that global warming was evident during my visit, but that is not really the case. Indeed, Salik tells me that he and most Greenlanders are pretty skeptical about it. The local fishing industry used to be based on arctic prawns, but the sea temperature has changed just enough that the prawns are much further north, so now they fish for cod.
But, as Salik points out, this cycle has happened several times in living memory. The same with the glaciers: yes they are retreating, but at least in his area, they have yet to reach the limits that the locals remember them. Objective measurements do show that climate change is happening. Nevertheless I was amused that the locals don’t seem to think it is such a big deal.
Almost as amusing as climate alarmists eating their symbol of polar destruction.