Polar Bear Cannibalism May Be Increasing

As climate change continues to affect the living conditions of Polar Bears researchers now say they are witnessing an increase in cannibalism among the species.

While male polar bears have long been known to eat their cubs and in some cases female polar bears researchers say those events have typically been witnessed late in the year while acts of cannibalism have now appeared in the summer months while the bears were still floating sea ice platforms to hunt for seals.

According to the researchers in an article published in the journal Arctic:

“…As the climate continues to warm and sea ice continues to break up and melt at earlier dates, thus making seals less available earlier in the summer, the frequency of intraspecific predation and cannibalism may increase,” they added. “Similarly, as more ships go farther into the disintegrating ice to view and photograph polar bears, it is likely that similar instances of intraspecific predation and cannibalism on the sea ice will be reported more frequently.”

The researchers continue:

“As the climate continues to warm and sea ice continues to break up and melt at earlier dates, thus making seals less available earlier in the summer, the frequency of intra-species predation and cannibalism may increase.”

The research group was quick to point out that the increase in witnessed events could be found because “as more ships go farther into the disintegrating ice to view and photograph polar bears.”

More research will need to be conducted to determine if cannibalism among the species has actually increased or if the attacks are simply being better monitored at this time.

Do you think climate change is affecting the Polar Bears predatory practices among their own species?

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