Polar Bear Tragically Starves to Death Because of Global Warming

by , 08/07/13

It’s always sad to see dead animals in the wild, but the death of this 16-year-old male polar bear found dead on a beach north of Norway is especially tragic. After examining the bear’s emaciated body, researchers determined that the bear starved to death due global warming. Record high temperatures have melted arctic ice sheets that this and other polar bears need for hunting. Making matters even more tragic, this same malnourished polar bear was in good health when researchers examined it just three months prior in southern Svalbard.

Svalbard, polar bears, global warming, endangered species, climate change, Arctic Ice, Nature, animals

Image via Shutterstock

Dr Ian Stirling, a Polar Bears International scientist who has been studying the bears for 40 years now, told The Guardian, “[f]rom his lying position in death, the bear appears to simply have starved and died where he dropped. He had no external suggestion of any remaining fat, having been reduced to little more than skin and bone.”

Dr. Stirling attributed this tragedy to climate change, citing that the sea ice in the Arctic dropped to record-setting lows in 2012. Satellite images from last year show that a rapid summer melt reduced the surface of the frozen sea to less than 1.32 million square miles, which combines to be a land mass just over twice the size of Alaska.

Climate change is particularly affecting polar bears because ice sheets are instrumental in their hunt for seals. Although they have webbed paws that make them incredibly good swimmers, they are still land animals and need the arctic ice to rest and haul up their catch. Ultimately the lack of ice packs will force more polar bears to migrate in search for food—as was the case with this bear, who moved from the southern to northern coast of Svalbard—hopefully to better success than this one.

via The Guardian

Lead image © Ashley Cooper/Global Warming Images

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  1. stevemcdonald November 16, 2014 at 11:52 pm
  2. Lisa Laabs November 16, 2014 at 1:59 am

    I guess I take issue with this since they have proven that we have more ice mass now then in 2012. I would argue that it is over fishing and hunting that has cause the bears to starve. People have killed to many seals and have over fish the waters to feed an ever growing population of humans and have left our poor animal population desimated.

  3. FishinFlinFlon November 16, 2014 at 1:00 am

    I went to a seminar about Climate change and polar bears in the Churchill area. Polar bears numbers are factually increasing. Polar bears eat other foods. Polar bears are having a decreased chance of eating the seals because they need the ice. Other types of seals are coming in to were Polar bears feed ( a possible benefit to Polar bears ). Change happens and change is unavoidable. Not enough past history on that particular Polar bear to blame the death on starvation due to global warming. Other stressors were probably factors of its death. Again Polar bear numbers are increasing… fact.

  4. mananins cloak September 29, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    I was dr Stirling when he found the bear, he did not say it was due to global warming, he went to great pains to point out that you can not attribute the death of any one animal to gloabal warming, or any other large scale cause. All you can say is, that climate change is just one more stress on thwe chances of survival of polar populations in general, don’t extrapolate away from the facts journo’s!!!

  5. Charles S Opalek PE August 11, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Question: Was an autopsy performed to determine the cause of death of this once healthy polar bear?

    Answer: To be sure, if there was an autopsy, the article would have jumped at the opportunity to state the results.

    Conclusion: Once again “expert” science is based not on facts, but on a meaningless anecdote.

  6. Fred Borg August 7, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    A very disturbing story.

  7. Philip Tan Odynet August 6, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    I think the people in Norway should start giving food to the Pola Bears like how people feeding stray cats in Singapore but of course with extra care that they don’t ended up as Pola’s food. Before all the Pola Bears extinct or start attacking people for food.

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