Book “Polar bears – Beloved & Betrayed” | Polarjournal
Polar bears are actually perfectly adapted predators to their Arctic environment, at the top of the food web. But human impact, especially since the Industrial Revolution, has taken a toll on the king of the Arctic. Image: Morten Jørgensen

Polar bears are at the top of 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 makes comprehensive protection necessary in all regions, across all borders. But the protection 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 receive the protection they actually need.

In eight chapters with eight subchapters each and 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 images, partially taken by Morten Jørgensen during his travels and partially images by photographer Kyriakos Kaziras. “Affinity is one of the reasons why I paid so much attention to polar bears. Because through my own numerous observations over the years, I gained 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 evident in the fact that, just like his first book published in 2015, “Polar bears on the edge,” he did the book himself and also publishes it himself.

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

The second story that the passionate conservationist wants to tell is less enchanting. Because, according to him, it is about the fact that polar bears are not being protected. In the individual chapters, Morten Jørgensen denounces serious mistakes in management plans, misconceptions in society and conservation organizations, and even greed and profit-seeking. Not only politics has failed in his opinion, but also science and cultural representatives. He clearly states that the interdependencies in which politics, science and culture find themselves have created “an intertwined circus driven more by careerism and profit-keeping than by thoughts of polar bear conservation.” According to him, “I have come to realize over 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 in a way that readers 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 Morten Jørgensen

The book itself is not intended as 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 fluent, more narrative and gets to the painful point.” To do this, Morten Jørgensen uses a small but subtle trick. For the eight chapters are modular in structure, the individual subchapters each comprising only one page. This means that readers don’t have to read the book from front to back, but can jump into any chapter and find out more about 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 believes. There are also plans to publish the book not only in English, but also in German, French and even Russian. These versions are scheduled to appear 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 environmentalist. 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
Edition:First edition
Format:Soft cover
Dimensions & weight:20×24 cm; 700 g
Price:€ 40 (incl. shipping)

Link to the website: Polar bears – Beloves & Betrayed

Dr. Michael Wenger, PolarJournal

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