Recently, scientists in Hornsund, Svalbard – a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic ocean – witnessed a Polar bear pursues a reindeerBefore killing it, they dragged it to shore and ate it. The video they captured was widely shared via social media and news websites. Two days later, the bear was again spotted alongside a second reindeer killing.
Their observations are the first detailed accountThe Svalbard reindeer successfully hunted a polar bear. But they follow 13 previous reportsBetween 1983 and 1999, polar bears preyed on and scavenged on reindeer in the same archipelago.
These are far from the only accounts of polar bears changing their diets. They usually eat offshore seals during months of frozen seas. Their use of supplementary food sources during the warmer summer months is well-known. Bears have been known to gorging on them for decades. seabird eggsYou can also eat at the restaurant. Churchill dump(a rubbish and recycling facility) in Hudson Bay Similar reports of terrestrial feeding are however common. Recent years have seen more frequent changes.
From stalking to chasing Canadian caribouFishing is an enjoyable hobby. Arctic charCatching Rodents and geese to grazing on vegetationPatrolling Sites for human wastePolar bears can eat, have tried and can eat many foods.
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However, these onshore food resources are unlikely to be sustainable long-term. Researchers found that polar bears are able to forage on nests of eider ducks on Mitvik Island, Canada. Inefficient predators for seabird eggsThis means that the amount of energy a bear gets from eggs may be lower than previously thought. That’s because they may use more energy to find the eggs than they get from eating them. Similar studies have shown that polar bears eat more terrestrial food than other animals. Insufficient to compensateFor reduced hunting opportunities on the ice.
Climate change is a threat
Polar bears have evolved to be extremely efficient Marine mammals are prey to predators. They eat a high-fat diet and rely on ice-based prey such as bearded and ringed seals to sustain their lives. They are a highly mobile species. A warming climate is threatening the lives of many people..
Arctic sea ice melting earlier in summer, and refreezing later winter due to rising global temperatures is a result. Polar bears are spending more time in ice-free areas as they grow longer. More time on the landWithout access to their primary food.
Other factors can make their situation worse. A recent study revealed that the following factors are making their situation worse. Energy needsIt is possible that the number of polar bears will be higher than previously thought. With less time on the sea ice, and less seal fat to consume, polar bears will find it more difficult to meet their energy needs – leading to higher death rates. However, Arctic winds are strongerHunting seals might be more difficult.
It is not surprising that there are more reports of summer scavenging, hunting, and foraging in the context climate change and high energy stress.
This story is also influenced by the rise of digital platforms. As Andrew Derocher, a professor of biology at the University of Alberta and longtime polar bear expert, explained: “Everybody has a camera” and “‘news’ spreads fast”. He pointed out rightly that if the same thing was happening in 1960s and 1950s, no one would have noticed it.
Photos and videos of polar bears received a lot of attention online over the past few years. From 56 bears Besiege a Russian townTo tragic sequences of Individuals with severe emaciationPolar bears are being used to represent the climate catastrophe.
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While the broad relationship here is undeniable – a sea ice species cannot live in an above freezing future – polar bears now inhabit a world where their every action is viewed as evidence in a wider climate change context. Our digital age magnifies the fact that bears are now seen as an embodiment of our worsening global situation.
Their plight is rightly brought into our attention. However, online content can lead to misdirected. Focusing on individual bears to illustrate climate issues could lead to shifting the burden of proof away form overwhelming scientific evidence and onto single animals.
Observations like the one in Hornsund highlight the need for more peer-reviewed research about the future of this iconic species. This one event should not be interpreted as proof of changing diets in a warmer environment, but rather as a reminder about the incredible creatures we are losing. One species whose fate is bound to ours, even in the far reaches of their Arctic landscape.