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Natural World

New study finds that polar bears are starving

February 2, 2018 | Comment icon 9 comments



Polar bears are considered to be a vulnerable species. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Alan D. Wilson
The diminishing Arctic sea ice is making it almost impossible for polar bears to satisfy their energy needs.
The research, which was headed up by Anthony Pagano at the University of California Santa Cruz, involved measuring the metabolic rates of nine polar bears and fitting them with GPS-camera collars.

As the animals hunted for food over the following 8-12 days, the collars recorded video footage, metabolic data and GPS co-ordinates to provide an overall picture of their activities.
The results showed that the animals had a higher metabolic rate than previous studies had suggested and that most of them were unable to catch enough food to meet their energy requirements.

A reduction in Arctic sea ice at a rate of around 14% per decade is chiefly responsible for their plight, as is the need for the animals to alter their hunting strategies depending on the season.

"It's thought that bears might catch a couple per month in the fall, compared to five to 10 per month in the spring and early summer," said Pagano. "We found that polar bears actually have much higher energy demands than predicted. They need to be catching a lot of seals."

Source: BBC News | Comments (9)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by paperdyer 4 years ago
Not to be flippant, but if we moved some of the polar bears somehow to the South Pole, could they survive? Would Penguins then be at risk? Can we catch and dump fish for them? They are beautiful animals and need our help to survive. We need to preserve what we can.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Likely Guy 4 years ago
Not with the south polar icecaps melting and it would decimate the penguin population because they've never seen a land predator.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Piney 4 years ago
@third_eye posted about this some time ago. This is nothing new.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Saru 4 years ago
It's not the same story - this one is about the findings of a new study published on Feb 2nd.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Manatee28 4 years ago
Hmmm...somehow I feel that this picture here might be more appropriate, don't you think? link
Comment icon #6 Posted by UFOwatcher 4 years ago
Eat more baby seals
Comment icon #7 Posted by DieChecker 4 years ago
I read it was not unusual for polar bears to be staving part of the year. The question is if they are starving for longer, or are even for starving during the normal time they starve. This study would seem to say yes, but I've seen a lot of bias on this issue, with people trying to argue for the bears entirely by pulling heartstrings. Others have noted that there are supposedly More Bears now then ever recorded before. So, then it may be a case of limited food, with an increase in predation, so then, again, there would be more starving.
Comment icon #8 Posted by ChaosRose 4 years ago
This sucks. It's just the tip of the iceberg, though. If there are icebergs left.
Comment icon #9 Posted by preacherman76 4 years ago
If there are large numbers of bears who look like that, then maybe. For all we know this bear is equivalent to a 90 year old person. I saw a documentary couple years back making the same claims, butthey couldn't seem to find any bears that looked unhealthy at all. Even as they told people the bears were starving to death. I remember even saying to myself, man you think they would have found some unhealthy looking bears to make this point. Nearly all big predators go through a hard part of the year. These people want to take complete control over all human activity. Power hungry thieves are wh... [More]


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