Friday, 17 July 2015

Polar bears fail to adapt to lack of food in warmer Arctic

By Matt McGrath
Environment correspondent, BBC News

16 July 2015 

Polar bears across the Arctic region face a shortage of food in the summer due to increased melting of ice

Polar bears are unable to adapt their behaviour to cope with the food losses associated with warmer summers in the Arctic.

Scientists had believed that the animals would enter a type of 'walking hibernation' when deprived of prey.

But new research says that that bears simply starve in hotter conditions when food is scarce.

The authors say that the implications for the survival of the species in a warmer world are grim.

Back in 2008 polar bears were listed as a threatened species in the US. At that time, the Secretary of the Interior noted that the dramatic decline in sea ice was the greatest threat the bears faced.

We think this data also points towards their eventual declineJohn Whiteman, University of Wyoming

Polar bears survive mainly on a diet of seals that they hunt on the sea ice - but increased melting in the summer reduces seal numbers and as a result the bears struggle to find a meal.

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