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More Polar Bears Turn to Cannibalism to Avoid Starvation

More Polar Bears Turn to Cannibalism to Avoid Starvation


Written by Alex Davies

The only thing that could be more upsetting than images of an adult polar bear eating his cub is the fact that it’s a scene that’s occurring with increasing frequency throughout the Arctic. As the melting of Arctic Sea ice worsens every year, polar bear hunting grounds disappear, and so does their access to food.

Michael reported a story just like this one in 2008, and it appears that the cannibalism trend is rising. A report by environmental photojournalist Jenny Ross, who took the disturbing photos, and polar bear biologist Dr Ian Stirling notes three such sightings, and warns that as global warming continues, “the frequency of such intraspecific predation may increase.”

This post was originally published by Treehugger.


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Photo from jidanchaomian via flickr

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6:08PM PST on Mar 9, 2012

This story is false!! The repubs have stated that there is no global warming.

5:19AM PST on Jan 25, 2012

Alex, many species exhibit such behavior. It's not that unusual, and with bears, the males take NO PART in rearing of cubs, and if they come across a cub, they WILL kill and eat it. So will male lions if the cubs are not theirs. The article mentions an incident in 2008 and even states it was a male bear. It's not "cannabalism" due to's survival of the fittest, and with male bears, killing cubs is not only gives THEM food, it brings the female back into estrus, so HE can breed with her and perpetuate HIS genes.

4:17AM PST on Jan 25, 2012

When animals start eating their own young,then there is a serious problem.With no attempt by humans to do something about the burgeoning unsustainable human population on the planet already,and developers just making huge amounts of money out of ugly developments to house all these people,then I can see a day soon when human cannibalism may be back in vogue!The experts are predicting wars over food and water,and this appears to be happening already in some countries.Some religions and cultures just cannot see "the bigger picture"of where we are heading-they refuse to practice birth control and purposefully under-educate girls so that they are just child-bearing vassals!While so much of the world is still in "The Dark Ages",and "The First World"is just plundering the rest for greed and profit,I see no hope for human survival!

1:34AM PST on Jan 9, 2012

Horrible. I think they are not just eating their cubs because they need food themselves, but they also realize there is not enough food for their cubs to survive anyways. It seems to be their only way to deal with the starvation problem polar bears are facing these days. It's not like they can just hop on a plane and move to Antarctica or anything. They are geographically trapped in a shrinking livable space that humans are responsible for destroying. Earth is fading quickly for us and most of us still do not realize the direness of our situation already.

11:18PM PST on Jan 8, 2012

Sad, thank you.

5:49PM PST on Jan 8, 2012


5:48PM PST on Jan 8, 2012


2:02PM PST on Jan 7, 2012

This is terrible! We must take action to slow down global warming!

5:48AM PST on Jan 7, 2012

Thank-you for the article. So sad. May we come together in wisdom and love.

10:26AM PST on Jan 6, 2012

This is extremely alarming and sad. I have nothing but contempt for global warming naysayers.

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