Monday, April 28, 2008

First to go: Iconic Polar Bear or Fabled Narwal?

Andrew Bolt repeats he doesn't want us to use polar bears as a symbol of global warming in our media any more:

Bear With Us: More Hype Deflated

The eco-hype is cooled, along with the weather:

The polar bear is in trouble in Canada because of overhunting and global warming, but it is not endangered or threatened with extinction, an independent committee advising the Canadian government said Friday.

The obligatory genuflection to global warming is there, of course, but perhaps we can now drop the absurd use of the polar bear as the emblem of global warming doom.

Andrew Bolt – Sunday, April 27, 08 (09:31 am)

He'll be pissed-off to read in Wired's story that, should his long-running persecution of the poor polar bear succeed, the narwhal is ready to drop in on its wave:

The polar bear has become an icon of global warming vulnerability, but a new study found an Arctic mammal that may be even more at risk to climate change: the narwhal.

It seems the 80,000 strong narwhal is highly specialised, reducing it's chances of adapting to a melting environment.

The narwhal, which dives about 6,000 feet to feed on Greenland halibut, is the ultimate specialist, evolved specifically to live in small cracks in parts of the Arctic where it's 99 percent heavy ice, Laidre said. As the ice melts, not only is the narwhal habitat changed, predators such as killer whales will likely intrude more often.

"Since it's so restricted to the migration routes it takes, it's restricted to what it eats, it makes it more vulnerable to the loss of those things," Laidre said in a telephone interview from Greenland, where she is studying narwhals by airplane.

Imagine the mileage that environment groups could make by elevating the fabled Narwhal 'as the emblem of global warming doom.'?

The narwhal, a whale with a long spiral tusk that inspired the myth of the unicorn, edged out the polar bear for the ranking of most potentially vulnerable in a climate change risk analysis of Arctic marine mammals.

Unravell the unicorn myth, that takes in Noah Ark and the Great Flood, a story embedded in our Abrahamic DNA, and you will have the genesis of the great green religion that Andrew so fears. He's much better off hoping the polar bears will pull through; and that's the Knuts and Bolts of it:

The Unicorn Song

A long time ago, when the Earth was green
There was more kinds of animals than you've ever seen
They'd run around free while the Earth was being born
And the loveliest of all was the unicorn

There was green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees
Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you're born
The loveliest of all was the unicorn

The Lord seen some sinning and it gave Him pain
And He says, "Stand back, I'm going to make it rain"
He says, "Hey Noah, I'll tell you what to do
Build me a floating zoo, and take some of those

Green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees
Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you're born
Don't you forget My unicorns

Don't forget the narwhal. The research study Wired's article cites was published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Ecological Applications.

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