Business, Finance & Economics

Hungry polar bear kills and eats a cub


Earlier studies have shown that polar bears are swimming hundreds of miles to reach solid ice or land, but a new study demonstrates that the longer swims increase cub mortality.


Bill Pugliano

An environmental photographer has managed to capture an image of a large, adult polar bear dragging the body of a bloody cub across the Arctic ice. The polar bear has used its teeth to grab the cub, which it presumably just killed, at the scruff of its neck.

Polar bears normally eat seals, but they have had to resort to other options because climate change has left them with less sea ice and therefore less available space or platforms on which to hunt for seals, the photographer, Jenny Ross, told scientists gathered at the 2011 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, as reported by the BBC.

Observers have long known that adult male polar bears sometimes prey on cubs or females, however, Ross's report states that the warming temperatures may be causing this to happen more often, MSNBC reported.

The bears have been left with no choice but to eat human garbage and human foods, seabirds and their eggs and in some cases, young and vulnerable polar bear cubs.

"This type of intraspecific predation has always occurred to some extent," she told BBC News.

"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.

In other polar bear news, a Canadian senator campaigned last month to have the polar bear replace the beaver as the country's national emblem.

"A country's symbols are not constant and can change over time," Nicole Eaton, a Canadian senator and Conservative party member, told Reuters. 

"The polar bear, with its strength, courage, resourcefulness and dignity is perfect for the part."

More from GlobalPost: Polar bear fights to be Canada's national emblem