Polar Bear Swims For 9 Days Before Finding Ice

Climate change forced a single polar bear to swim continuously for over nine days in search of stable sea ice, a new study has revealed.

The bear’s epic journey came at a great cost: scientists note that she lost her yearling cub when the small bear couldn’t keep up with the long-distance swim and low temperatures. Scientists report the bear also lost 22 percent of her body fat as well.

A study recently published in Polar Biology found that melting sea ice is threatening the health and safety of future polar bear generations by requiring the bears to swim exhaustive distances in freezing cold water.

“This bear swam continuously for 232 hours and 687 km and through waters that were 2-6 degrees C,” research zoologist George M. Durner told BBC News.

“We are in awe that an animal that spends most of its time on the surface of sea ice could swim constantly for so long in water so cold,” Durner continued, “It is truly an amazing feat.”

The scientists were able to track the movements of a single female polar bear over 2 months by fitting her with a GPS collar.

Spreads of floating sea ice provide platforms from which endangered polar bears hunt, and when these spreads shrink because of warming temperatures, it becomes harder for the bears to keep up the massive caloric intake that allows them to survive the harsh Arctic environment.

Just days ago, Care2′s Nancy Roberts reported that both NASA and NOAA released data showing that 2010 tied with 2005 as the hottest year for the planet.

Image Credit: Flickr - irishwildcat

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Elisa Faulkner- Uriarte
Elisa F.2 years ago

So sad!

Laura McGowan
Laura McGowan2 years ago

What a tragedy! I can't imagine the mother's grief as she helplessly watched her cub drown. The article failed to say whether the "stable sea ice" was enough to sustain her. How can she survive such a struggle without food? It would be a real tragedy to know she lost her cub AND swam for so long only to die of starvation. We are losing too many polar bears to man-made global warming to continue allowing trophy/sport hunting of these magnificent animals. Unfortunately, greedy people don't care about the polar bear's plight. What a sad world we live in now...

Manel Dias
Manel Dias3 years ago

Need to STOP hunting these majestic Polar Bears. Due to the climatically disasters alone we loose so many of them. On top of it these greedy for dollar and blood thirsty ruthless humans keep slaughtering and murdering these beautiful animals. Such disgusting practise must be stop and should banned completely. We obviously need strict laws to protect these Polar Bears from poachers. Who ever does it illegally must be properly prosecuted.

LMj Sunshine


LMj Sunshine


LMj Sunshine


Vera Taylor
Vera Taylor4 years ago

I HATE to go all bible thumper about this butif you look at everything going on it's like the final chapter "Revelations" read it before you go all balistic on me.

Jenn T.

Hi Donna,

I was just reading your comment about climate change and the melting ice disrupting the polar bears hunting activities.

Your comment, "Floating pontoons anchored where walruses historically visit, same in the form of ' waystations' for the polar bear" is AN EXCELLENT IDEA!!!!


It's so sad to hear that the cubs are dying because they can't swim far enough to find ice.


Donna G.
Donna G.4 years ago

Climate change has been happening for millions of years. The reason the term 'global warming' was dropped and replaced by climate change is that not every where is warming. Antarctica is growing,Arctic is shrinking. Greenland is green and ancient buildings covered in glaciers are emerging. The planet was a hotter place many ,many years ago, and will be again. That said we do have the power to slow/stop the extinction of ice dwellers.Floating pontoons anchored where walruses historically visit, same in the form of ' waystations' for the polar bear.Man may have not been around to save sabertooth tigers,mammoths , giant marsupials,etc. But we are here now, and if we wanted to, we could do something NOW. We have the technology - but do we have the will?

Sulette Matthee
Sulette Botha4 years ago

It breaks my heart!