Beaufort Sea Polar Bears’ Limited Diet Puts them at Risk
24.06.2011 - Flora & Fauna, Arctic
In a paper published in Ecological Monographs, a team of scientists suggests that polar bears’ exclusive diets are making the species more vulnerable to the consequences of dwindling sea ice in the Arctic. The team, which has been collecting fat samples from Polar Bears throughout the Canadian Arctic, succeeded in producing a detailed catalog of the various polar bears’ diets and the differences from one population to another.
From 1972 to 2004, scientists took 1,902 fat samples from 1,738 bears spread across 10 different Canadian populations, including two populations from the Canadian part of the Beaufort Sea. What they found suggests that the bears from the Beaufort region could have a more difficult time adapting to receding sea ice.
Analyzing their diet, the team found that polar bears in the Beaufort region ate mostly ringed and bearded seals, while polar bears in the other regions had more varied diets, due to the greater variety of prey available to them in these regions.