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Index – Technology – A polar bear hunting a reindeer was captured on video for the first time

A polar bear was caught stalking a reindeer in the sea and then killing a deer there by a team from the Polish Scientific Observatory on August 21, 2020 in Spitsbergen. This was the first time that humans had seen and recorded a polar bear attacking and killing a deer.

This observation may be important because it may provide evidence that the polar bear’s diet is changing as a result of global warming and the melting of the polar ice caps.

Polar bears roam the ice fields during the summer months, primarily looking for food, energy-rich and fatty seals.

However, in recent decades, due to the shrinkage of the ice surface, polar bears will remain on land much longer, since they will not be able to hunt seals as the ice recedes.

Instead, the kings of the Arctic Circle must search for other foods that live on Earth.

However, the importance of terrestrial food in the diet of polar bears is debatable, he writes polar biology Now appearing in in his studies Isabella Kulaszewicz, member of the video recording team. The researcher and two colleagues hypothesize that terrestrial ungulates may be alternative prey for polar bears rather than seals, as they may provide sufficient energy and live in large numbers in the bears’ natural habitat; The Spitzbergacon According to surveys, about three hundred polar bears and twenty thousand reindeer live.

According to Kulaszewicz and two colleagues who recorded the study, the video incident is one of the observations that provide evidence that polar bears are increasingly trying to replace inaccessible seals as a result of the retreating ice field with land prey. This hypothesis is consistent with that with the previous studyWhich showed that since 2015, polar bears were more likely to try to obtain food by pillaging duck and geese nests as a result of the shrinking of the ice surface.

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Referring to sources prior to the year 2000, Kulaszewics claims that the Spitzbergen polar bears are not typical for attacking reindeer.

However, according to Polish researchers, there are indications that this will happen more often.

In addition to the thaw caused by global warming, they base their theory on the fact that reindeer hunting has been prohibited in Spitzbergen since 1925, so there is a growing herd of deer living on the islands, which can also be the easiest prey for bears. In addition, as a result of the ban on hunting, deer have also become less cautious compared, for example, to those who live in the Arctic of the Americas. Caribocal.

Andrew Desrocher, Professor at the University of Alberta to me The question of Kulaszewicsz must be treated with reservations. According to Derocher, it is not worth relying on the resources of the last century because 60-70 years ago there were much fewer polar bears, reindeer and people living in the area, so they can feel less hunting like today. And he adds, everyone in the modern world has a camera, and news spreads on the Internet much faster than it did in the last century.

Incidentally, the polar bear that appears in the video was seen again two days after Polish researchers recorded feeding on the carcass of a reindeer. Reindeer can be an important food for polar bears when they have to stay on land for long periods of time, however, the opinion of experts remains that a reindeer-based diet cannot be a long-term solution to the precarious situation of polar bears.

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This is because polar bears are excellent swimmers but are slow on land, so they cannot keep up with reindeer, for example. The animal in the video may also have lost the ability to chase a polar bear in the water, changing the balance of power between the stalker and the persecutor.

As for the future of polar bears, scientists believe there is not enough ice to sustain the current population. According to Derocher, the Barents Sea polar bears in Spitzbergen may disappear early this century, depending on the direction of melting.

(Cover image: a polar bear walking In Spitzbergen on July 20, 2015. Photo: Wolfgang Kahler/Light Rocket/Getty Images)