Polar bears across the Arctic region are unable to cope up with food crisis during summers due to increased melting of ice, and end up starving.
Polar bears across the Arctic region are unable to cope with food crisis during summers due to increased melting of ice, and end up starving.
The scientists had thought the animals would enter a low-activity state termed “walking hibernation” when there’s lack of food just like most bears do, however, when they studied two dozen bears in the Beaufort Sea, north of Alaska, it turned out they just starved in warmer weather, the BBC reported.
This pointed towards the low survival chances of the species in a warmer world.
Polar bears’ chief diet includes seals which are hunted on the sea ice, but with increase in melting of ice in the summer, the number of seal is reduced, creating problems for the white furry creatures.
John Whiteman from the University of Wyoming, the paper’s lead author said that Polar bears’ metabolism was similar to typical food limited mammal rather than a hibernating bear.
However, the scientists found that even though the bears may not be able to adapt when it comes to food, they seemed to have a surprisingly significant adaption that helps them to cope with swimming in cold water.
Nevertheless, despite of the strong performance in cold water, it doesn’t compensate for the lack of food and the inability of the bears to slow down their metabolism in response said the authors.
The paper has been published in the journal Science.