Monday 20 October, 2014

‘Hungry’ polar bears turn to ‘cannibalism’ for survival

Published On: Fri, Dec 9th, 2011 | Climate Change | By BioNews

Increasing number of polar bears, which otherwise hunt seals, are now resorting to attacking and eating their own kind in a bid to satiate their hunger, a recent photo evidence has revealed.

The photograph clicked by environmental photojournalist Jenny Ross shows an adult polar bear dragging the body of a cub that it has just killed across the Arctic sea ice.

“This type of intraspecific predation has always occurred to some extent,” the BBC quoted Ross as saying.

“However, there are increasing numbers of observations of it occurring, particularly on land where polar bears are trapped ashore, completely food-deprived for extended periods of time due to the loss of sea ice as a result of climate change,” she stated.

The killing technique used by the adult was precisely similar to what the polar bears use on seals – sharp bites to the head.

The recent dramatic retreat of Arctic sea ice in summer months has witnessed open water appear in the area for extended periods.

And without their usual platform on which they hunt seals, bears seek alternative sources of food.

“On land, they’re looking for human garbage and human foods; they’re starting to prey on seabirds and their eggs,” Ross explained.

“None of those alternative foods can support them, but they are seeking them out.

“Predating another bear is a way to get food; it’s probably a relatively easy way for a big adult male. And it seems that because of the circumstances of the loss of sea ice – that kind of behaviour may be becoming more common,” she added.

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