Sea ice plays an extremely important role in the life of polar bears; these animals need sea ice to hunt for creatures like seals in the ocean. As a result, the rapid increase in global temperature and the subsequent rise in the rate of melting of ice are bad news for them. This bad effect of global warming on polar bears has even been confirmed by a study recently.
During a survey conducted by researchers at the US Geological Survey, Washington State University, it has been found that polar bears are currently spending more time on land than ever before. However, this change is not helping them much as on land they are not finding enough food for leading a normal life.
During the said survey, researchers from the US Geological Survey were duly assisted by experts representing the Polar Bears International, a well known conservation group.
Researchers taking part in the survey reviewed the ability of the Arctic ecosystem to support polar bears by providing adequate amount of energy-rich food they require. The results of the review were pretty grim.
The head of Polar Bear International and one of the coauthors of the study Steven Amstrup revealed that it’s absolutely clear that there not enough food for these animals on land.
However, there are contradictions too. A number of previously conducted studies on habits and habitats of Arctic animals have shown that polar bears do consume certain land-based foods such as geese and eggs laid by them.
When discussing about those previous studies, Amstrup said that the evidence put up by those studies is completely anecdotal. He informed that to date there have been just 30 instances where polar bears are seen eating on land; such few instances cannot be considered when making a conclusion. Additionally, he said that geese eggs found in the Arctic region might be extremely nutritious, but they are not available in enough quantity.
The researchers carrying out this latest study on effects of climate change on polar bears believe that more quantitative studies must be conducted on the feeding habits of these animals before drawing a final conclusion. However, what they are confirming is that polar bears’ nutritional needs cannot be met by foods available on land.