Cases of polar bears killing and eating each other are on the rise in the Arctic…
Main causes are food scarcity, oil and gas industry, and ice melting.
Russian scientists record more cases of bear-on-bear attacks amid food scarcity and sea ice melt.
“Cases of cannibalism among polar bears are a long-established fact, but we’re worried that such cases used to be found rarely while now they are recorded quite often.
We state that cannibalism in polar bears is increasing,” said Ilya Mordvintsev, a polar bear expert at Moscow’s Severtsov Institute of Problems of Ecology and Evolution.
Causes fore the cannibalism rising cases
Speaking at a presentation in St Petersburg, Mordvintsev suggested that the behaviour could be due to lack of food.
“In some seasons there is not enough food and large males attack females with cubs.”
The rise in cases could also be due partly to more people working in the Arctic and reporting such behaviour, he said.
“Now we get information not only from scientists but also from the growing number of oil workers and defence ministry employees.”
This winter the area from the Gulf of Ob to the Barents Sea, where polar bears used to hunt, is now a busy route for ships carrying LNG (liquefied natural gas), Mordvintsev said.
“The Gulf of Ob was always a hunting ground for the polar bear. Now it has broken ice all year round,” he said, linking this change to active gas extraction on the huge Yamal peninsula bordering the Gulf of Ob, and the launch of an Arctic LNG plant.
Russia has also significantly upgraded its military facilities there.
Another Russian scientist, Vladimir Sokolov, said that this year polar bears had been mainly affected by abnormally warm weather on Spitsbergen Island to the north, in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, where there had been no ice floes and little snow.
New polar bear hunting grounds: Cities
Russian researchers have recorded growing numbers of polar bears moving away from their traditional hunting grounds as ice melts.