THE BARE BEAR FACTS
What the world's zoologists know about the polar bear, it would seem, is that he is a large, white-furred mammal with a habitat restricted to the Arctic and to zoos. Leading authorities, if that is the word, of the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Norway and the U.S.S.R., meeting at the University of Alaska, were unable to say whether there is a single population of the bears migrating counterclockwise around the North Pole, as suggested by some, or whether there are several regional populations; whether or not they are threatened with extinction; what sound management policies should be; or even how many bears there are. Guesses ranged between 5,000 and 19,000.
In an interview, Ivan A. Maksimov, representative from the Soviet Union, decried the recent trend of polar-bear hunting in Alaska, which during the past 15 years has degenerated from Eskimos hunting them by dogsled to trophy-seekers chasing them to exhaustion in light planes.
"What chance does the poor animal have when he is chased by a plane until he is unable to run, then the plane lands and the hunter gets out and shoots the exhausted animal?" Maksimov asked. "Do you call this sport?"
In indirect reply, C. Edward Carlson, chief of the Division of Wildlife Research, U.S. Department of the Interior, said that "before long" there will have to be regulation of polar-bear hunting in the U.S. Yes, indeed.
We are a bit querulous about the whole matter, because we assigned an Alaskan correspondent to cover the conference, only to have him barred by U.S. Department of State representatives from all but one working session. For 20 minutes he was allowed to listen to an Alaskan Department of Game agent utter duck calls, then was asked to leave. A U.S. delegate moved that papers presented to the conference be not released to the press and, having obtained copies of them nonetheless, we can understand why they were suppressed. One suggestion: that 40 polar bears be equipped with radio transmitters and then tracked in their wanderings by a satellite put in orbit over the North Pole.
THAT'S FOR OPENERS
A 17-year-old exchange student from Denmark, Peter Koller Nielsen of Louisville ( Ohio) High School, saw his first football game recently and, you might say, won it.
Peter signed on as a student manager when practice started this season. One day he was fooling around, kicking the ball in the soccer style of his native Denmark. Next day the coaches had him trying for points after touchdown. Then they put him to kicking field goals. Then they ordered a uniform for him.
In the season's opener Louisville played Canton Glenwood. Four times Peter went into the game. He kicked a conversion and three field goals for 10 points—the margin of victory in a 24-14 Louisville win.