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Polar bears: more bad news - Rsch proves they need 1.6X as much food as we thought

Discussion in 'Other Animals' started by leashedForLife, Mar 3, 2018.

  1. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    the rapid loss of sea-ice area, the shrinking sea-ice "season", longer & longer periods land-bound & unable to hunt, impossible vast areas of open sea between seal haul-outs... the bad news keeps coming. :(

    A new study captures incredible data over a week or more of adult bears, each radio-collared, including video of them hunting, miles traveled or swum, activity levels, metabolic needs, wt gain or wt loss, & more.

    the worst bit? - We now know they need more than HALF AGAIN the amount of calories that we previously thought, daily.

    We also have definitive proof of just how critical blubber-wrapped ring seals are to their survival, as individuals or as a species:
    Bears who successfully found & caught ringed seals GAINED wt, an average of 40# over the 8 to 11 days that each one collected data.
    Bears who found no seals, or who found them but failed to catch them, lost a similar amount of body-mass, over the same period.

    In the late 1990s, I saw footage for the 1st time in my life of a healthy young male sea-bear, who was dying.
    He was swimming in open ocean, over 90-miles from the nearest land, & he was shivering as he swam. Normally, polar bears have trouble shedding heat - their transparent thick coats capture any sunlight, & channel it to their skin. Their own fat insulates them so well, they lie down on the ice or "snow-plow" along on their chests thru the snow, to cool off.
    When he heaved himself onto a small ice-floe about 15-ft square, it was immediately apparent just how thin he was - his flanks were hollow, his hip-bones protruded like an old milch-cow's, he was lank & slab-sided; his paws & head looked too big for his body.
    He was just days from being too cold to swim, & drowning, or too exhausted to hunt - & death.

    Females are not getting pregnant.
    They must have a certain minimum body-fat to enter estrus, & then carry a pregnancy, give birth, & nurse the cub/s. // Normally, an adult F has 2 or even 3 cubs, spends 2 years to 3 years rearing them, & then enters estrus again.
    Now? - they're too skinny to come into heat; or they get pregnant, then resorb the cub/s B4 they're full-term; or they give birth, but the cubs can't thrive & grow 'cuz mom's not eating enuf to provide abundant, fat-rich milk, & the babies die.
    From 2 or 3 cubs every 2 to 3 years, fertility has fallen to ONE cub every 2 to 3 years, or even ONE cub every 5 to 6; fewer than half as many births, but even fewer are living to adulthood, to mate in their turn.

    Marathon swims are becoming more common - & more lethal. Cubs, especially, chill & drown.

    Polar bears’ life-threatening journeys

    I think that sea-bears may be functionally extinct, if not factually so, before i die.
    :( What a bitterly sad prospect.

    The 1st photo is of one of the females they collared - the other 2 are file photos; the last is an adult male, in good condition.

    - terry
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  2. Violet Turner

    Violet Turner Well-Known Member Registered

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    Lovely animals!
     
  3. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    I'm going to post a photo-album - WARNING, some images are graphic.
    Some are pleasing to the eye & happy - others are bloody & disturbing.

    Grizzlies & Kodiak browns are both closely-related to sea-bears, & males of both species have long been known to kill & eat cubs of their own species. // Cannabalism of cubs in polar bears is becoming more common, as climate change starves bears into desperation.
    Some of the photos below include male bears with cubs they've killed - one, the tall slim bear with a muddy coat, is a female seen eating a dead cub. [No one knows whether she killed the cub, whether it was her own, or if the cub died of other causes - which happens frequently - & she scavenged the corpse.]

    Climate change has altered sea-bears' diets - dolphins, beluga, walrus, & birds' eggs are all now hunted.
    Also due to global warming, orca, AKA "killer whales", now compete directly with polar bears, as they, too, hunt seals of various species - orca have never been able to go so far north before, & this is another serious blow to the bears' survival.

    Photo #1 is a sea-bear eating a dolphin - notice how gaunt he is? That dolphin came along just in time. :(
    #2 is a male bear, with the cub he killed.

    Photo #3 shows over 80 bears sharing the head of a 44-ft long finback whale, taken by local hunters - who knew the bears were hungry, & donated the head after butchering the body for meat for their village.


    #4 is a thin M bear, he appears to be about 2-YO, carrying the skeleton of a seal he finished off; #5 is a bear eating a seal; #6 is the uncropped original photo of the M bear with the dead cub, seen close-up in #2.

    #7 is the unusual - a female bear, eating a dead cub. // #8 is another male bear with a cub he killed; #9, a starving bear; #10 is a bear who died headed north, on land, desperately trying to find sea ice.

    - t

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  4. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    more photos.

    #1 speaks for itself - he needs a haul-out, he's underweight & freezing. Where does he go from here?

    #2 - the Great White Hunter. :thumbdown:

    #3 - a female bear tries to drive off a male who's hunting her cub - the cub can be seen fleeing, behind her.
    [She fails. He kills & eats the cub.]

    #4 - an underweight bear lunging onto an ice floe, surprising a ring seal. [He gets his meal.]

    #5 - another starveling.

    #6 - a female's winter den; can U see the cubs? [There are 2.]

    - t

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  5. arealhuman

    arealhuman Well-Known Member Registered

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    Depressing :(
     
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