August 9, 2022

Lakeview Gazette

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Photos of the unpublished hunting scene raised suspicions about feeding the polar bears

A young bear chases a male deer out of icy water, grabs it and brings it ashore to swallow. (Izabela KULASZEWICZ / AFP)

In a hunting scene never filmed before, a polar bear chases after a deer and then swallows one., with thaw, the “King of the Arctic” You can change yourself Eating Habits.

It happened in the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard On August 21, 2020 The sea icebergs retreated And, with them, the bearing seals feed. A young bear chases a male deer out of icy water, grabs it and brings it ashore to swallow.

Stunned, team members from the Polish Science Center filmed the scene and documented for the first time a hunt between these two mammals.

“It was like watching a documentary and it was so amazing”, I said AFP Izabela Kulaszewicz, Biologist at Gdansk University. “You can hear the voice of the narrator in the background that you should definitely watch this event We will never see it again. “

It took place on August 21, 2020 in the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, where the sea icebergs retreat and, with them, feed the seals.  (Izabela KULASZEWICZ / AFP)
It took place on August 21, 2020 in the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, where the sea icebergs retreat and, with them, feed the seals. (Izabela KULASZEWICZ / AFP)

This sequence is so unusual that Kulassevich and two researchers revealed it in an article for a scientific journal.

According to the article, This chapter is part of a series of observations claiming that the polar bear is turning more and more towards land prey due to the difficulty in catching seals.

In Svalbard, 1,000 km from the North Pole 300 bears live with about 20,000 reindeer.

According to the authors of the article, Signs of poaching between the two species have increased in recent decades.

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They find two explanations: The Retreat of sea ice This allows the bears to stay longer in dry land An increase in the number of reindeer in Svalbard After their hunting was banned in 1925.

This seemingly new predation should not be over-explained, other experts point out.

“If polar bears had killed deer in the 1950s or 1960s, it would have been hard to notice because there were some people, some bears and some deer.” At the time in Svalbard, Andrew Drocher, a professor at the University of Alberta, noted.

Opportunistic hunter

Ring or ring seal with high calorie fat is their favorite food, though Bears are opportunists and can be seen swallowing eggs, chicks, rodents and even dolphins.

70 to 90 kg with adults, Reindeer are a good food supplement for summer, A period of “lean cows” tending to extend with global warming.

With adults weighing 70 to 90 kg, deer are a good food item for the summer, which will extend with global warming.
With adults weighing 70 to 90 kg, deer are a good food item for the summer, a period of “lean cows” that extend with global warming. (Izabela KULASZEWICZ / AFP)

Two days after the shooting by Polish investigators, The same bear could be seen swallowing another deer carcass.

“At least for some bears, reindeer are important when they are on shore for a long time.”, Said the Norwegian expert John Ars, Co-author of the article.

But according to experts, Dietary changes may not be life-saving for the white bear, It faces Risk of extinction by 2100.

“Occasionally an attempt at deer depreciation is good for a bear or two in the short term, I think Does not fit the population of polar bears or reindeer. “, Featured Professor Ian Stirling of the Canadian Wildlife Service.

According to experts, such a dietary change would not be vital for the white bear, which is at risk of extinction by 2100.  (Olivier MORIN / AFP)
According to experts, such a dietary change would not be vital for the white bear, which is at risk of extinction by 2100. (Olivier MORIN / AFP)

Best Swimmer, The white bear cannot compete with deer for long distances on land, Risk of overheating.

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Outside the Arctic, reindeer are not as easy prey as their Svalbard relatives.

“They evolve with larger animals and wolves, terrestrial predators such as wolverines and brown bears, making them more difficult prey.”Jeff York of the Polar Pierce International Organization observed.

But even in Svalbard and its environs, the future for bears looks bleak.

“Eventually there will not be enough snow to support the polar bear population.”Warned Andrew Drocher. “Looking at the trend, I think the polar bear population in the Barents Sea, including Svalbard, will be one of those that will disappear in the course of this century.

(With information from AFP)

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