Book “Polar Bears – Beloved & Betrayed”. | Polarjournal
Polar bears are actually perfectly adapted predators to their Arctic environment and are at the top of the food web. But the influence of man, especially since the industrial revolution, have severely affected the king of the Arctic. Image: Morten Jørgensen

Polar bears are high on the popularity list of Arctic animals. No one could actually imagine an Arctic without the great predator. But the king of the Arctic is under massive pressure, because numerous dangers threaten the animals’ existence today. This necessitates comprehensive protection in all regions, across all borders. But the protective measures in the various countries are polarizing and have numerous critics. One of them, Danish conservationist and polar expert Morten Jørgensen, describes in his new book the background on how and why polar bears do not get the protection they actually need.

In eight chapters, each with eight subchapters on 208 pages, the author, who can look back on more than 25 years of experience in the polar regions as an expedition leader, polar guide, photographer and author, describes two stories about polar bears: On the one hand, the beauty, the magic, the fascination, the life of polar bears in the Arctic with the help of about one hundred pictures, some of which were taken by him during his trip and the rest by photographer Kyriakos Kaziras. “Affinity is one of the reasons I have paid so much attention to polar bears. Because my own numerous observations over the years have given me a little insight into what the animal actually is, beyond its name and reputation,” Jørgensen explains. “The magnificence and charisma of each individual polar bear rubs off on me.” Just how much Jørgensen cares about polar bears and their protection is shown by the fact that he wrote and published the book himself, just as he did with his first book, “Polar bears on the edge,” published in 2015.

Hunting polar bears is not only done with a cultural background. The sale of licenses to trophy hunters and illegal hunting are causing even more problems for polar bears than just melting sea ice and Arctic pollution. Photo: Archive

The second story the passionate conservationist wants to tell is less enchanting. Because, according to him, the issue is that polar bears are not protected in his eyes. In the individual chapters, Morten Jørgensen denounces serious errors in management plans, misconceptions in society and conservation organizations, and even greed and profiteering. Not only politics has failed, in his opinion, but also science and cultural representatives. He states clearly that the interdependencies in which politics, science and culture find themselves have created “an intertwined circus driven more by careerism and profit preservation than by thoughts of polar bear conservation.” According to him, “I have come to realize in the course of my many years of work, acquaintances and my own research that polar bears are not being protected, they are being betrayed.” “This story needs to be told to the public.”

The book is structured so that the reader can dive into each chapter without having read the previous ones. The information is detailed and describes the whole aspect about polar bears. Images: courtesy of Morten Jørgensen

The book itself is not intended to be a documentary in relation to the subject matter. Jørgensen had already presented this in his book “Polar bears on the edge” in 2015. “The goal is not to document, but to make the story known to the general public” he explains. “The new text is less technical, more flowing, more narrative and gets to the painful point.” In doing so, Morten Jørgensen uses a small but subtle trick. This is because the eight chapters are modular in structure, with the individual subchapters each comprising only one page. This means that readers do not have to read the book from front to back, but can jump into any chapter and get information on the individual aspects. “My previous book was full of quotes and an almost endless list of numbers, which had made it difficult to read,” he is convinced. Moreover, it is planned that the book will be published not only in English, but also in German, French and even Russian. These versions are scheduled for release later this year.

The author Morten Jørgensen (60) has been traveling in Arctic regions since 1998. He describes himself as a self-taught tour operator, expedition leader, lecturer, birder, author, photographer and conservationist. Jørgensen lives on the Danish island of Møn. Image: Ronja Edelfeldt

Jørgensen puts the goal of the book this way, “My goal with the books is to give everyone who cares about polar bears the opportunity to become informed and thus take action and ultimately ensure actual polar bear conservation. And personally, I want to give back to nature and polar bears for the endless satisfaction they bring me.”

Title:Polar bears – Beloved & Betrayed
Author:Morten Jørgensen
Issue:First edition
Format:Soft cover
Number of pages:208
Size & Weight:20×24 cm; 700 g
Price:€ 40 (shipping included)

Link to the website of the book: Polar bear Beloved & Betrayed

Dr Michael Wenger, PolarJournal

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