(Image source: BBC)


BY CHRISTINA MARTIN

Desperate times are calling for desperate measures in the Arctic. They might seem cute and cuddly on Coca Cola cans, but ...

[Photos courtesy Jenny E. Ross/Huffington Post]
… environmental photojournalist Jenny Ross captured these graphic photos of a polar bear resorting to cannibalism -- on a cub, no less. The pics were snapped in July 2010, and just published in the scientific journal, Arctic. In her accompanying article, Ross attributes the cannibalism to climate change. Ross tells the BBC:

“It’s believed that this sort of intraspecific predation has always occurred to some extent. However, there are increasing numbers of observations of it occurring, particularly on land in situations where polar bears are trapped ashore, completely food-deprived for extended periods of time due to the loss of sea ice as the result of climate change.”

The article said polar bears have less time during the year to hunt seals on the sea ice, so cannibalism could be on the rise. The authors admit it’s still just speculation, but a writer for Inquisitr says there’s already some evidence.

“[R]esearchers say those events have typically been witnessed late in the year while acts of cannibalism have now appeared in the summer months … 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 …...”

But the link between polar bear cannibalism and climate change irked some global warming skeptics. Conservative journalist James Delingpole critiqued the story in an article for the Telegraph.

“Don't you just love that having-it-both-ways fudge? On the one hand, she concedes that polar bears have been doing this kind of thing since time immemorial. On the other, for all that, it's just gotta be climate change hasn't it...”

And a skeptic blogger for the Charleston Daily Mail says even if cannibalism is on the rise, maybe the cause is just -- more bears.

“A half century ago, we had 5,000 polar bears worldwide. Today we have 22,000-25,000 … We nearly hunted them to extinction. It could be that as their numbers return to ‘normal’ this is ‘normal’ activity for polar bears.”

Either way, polar bears probably won’t make you think of Christmas anymore.

Climate Change Driving Polar Bears to Cannibalism?

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Dec 12, 2011

Climate Change Driving Polar Bears to Cannibalism?

(Image source: BBC)


BY CHRISTINA MARTIN

Desperate times are calling for desperate measures in the Arctic. They might seem cute and cuddly on Coca Cola cans, but ...

[Photos courtesy Jenny E. Ross/Huffington Post]
… environmental photojournalist Jenny Ross captured these graphic photos of a polar bear resorting to cannibalism -- on a cub, no less. The pics were snapped in July 2010, and just published in the scientific journal, Arctic. In her accompanying article, Ross attributes the cannibalism to climate change. Ross tells the BBC:

“It’s believed that this sort of intraspecific predation has always occurred to some extent. However, there are increasing numbers of observations of it occurring, particularly on land in situations where polar bears are trapped ashore, completely food-deprived for extended periods of time due to the loss of sea ice as the result of climate change.”

The article said polar bears have less time during the year to hunt seals on the sea ice, so cannibalism could be on the rise. The authors admit it’s still just speculation, but a writer for Inquisitr says there’s already some evidence.

“[R]esearchers say those events have typically been witnessed late in the year while acts of cannibalism have now appeared in the summer months … 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 …...”

But the link between polar bear cannibalism and climate change irked some global warming skeptics. Conservative journalist James Delingpole critiqued the story in an article for the Telegraph.

“Don't you just love that having-it-both-ways fudge? On the one hand, she concedes that polar bears have been doing this kind of thing since time immemorial. On the other, for all that, it's just gotta be climate change hasn't it...”

And a skeptic blogger for the Charleston Daily Mail says even if cannibalism is on the rise, maybe the cause is just -- more bears.

“A half century ago, we had 5,000 polar bears worldwide. Today we have 22,000-25,000 … We nearly hunted them to extinction. It could be that as their numbers return to ‘normal’ this is ‘normal’ activity for polar bears.”

Either way, polar bears probably won’t make you think of Christmas anymore.
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