Norway: Polar Bears Kill Dolphins, Freeze Leftovers

Anne Sewell

Polar bears have been spotted eating an unusual meal of white-beaked dolphins and then, even more unusually, storing the leftovers for later consumption.

The Norwegian Polar Institute has been following the activities of polar bears in Svalbard, Norway, and Jon Aars and his colleagues from the Institute were the first to note that the beloved white predators were eating white-beaked dolphins, a rare change from their normal diet. What is even more unusual is that the polar bears appear to be freezing their leftovers for later consumption.

— UPI.com (@UPI) June 10, 2015

— New Scientist (@newscientist) June 10, 2015

UPI quoted Aars as saying that hiding leftover food is rare with polar bears, but that he probably "caught the second dolphin because he could, and then had extra food later."

Since that date, the team has seen around five more polar bears eating dead dolphins in the same area. They are surprised that the dolphins have come that far north, but say it could be that the Svalbard waters were unusually warm at the time and the pod of dolphins accidentally ventured in and became trapped when the strong northerly winds pushed them into the ice.

According to Ian Stirling of the University of Alberta this isn't really surprising, as bears tend to be opportunistic predators and have been spotted eating many different marine animals.

"They will eat any marine mammal given a chance."

"The bigger surprise was that the dolphins were entrapped before they could migrate south for the winter."

"The bigger surprise was that the dolphins were entrapped before they could migrate south for the winter."

On that note, the Inquisitr recently reported that a polar bear dragged a tourist from his tent in the same area of Norway, clawing his back before it could be driven away.

[Image: CC BY-NC 2.0 RubyBlossom]

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