Polar Bears Can Adjust to Global Warming By Changing What They Eat

PolarBearEatingSeal2014-03-02.jpg“A polar bear eating a seal, its historically preferred prey.” Source of caption and photo: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited below.

(p. D2) As a warming climate causes sea ice in the Arctic to melt earlier each year, polar bears are spending more time on land — and changing their diets accordingly. A new study shows that the bears, whose traditional prey is ringed seal pups, are now eating more snow-goose eggs and caribou.
. . .
Samples of scat from different parts of the bay suggest that the bears are highly flexible and willing to change what they eat based on availability.
“Bears along the coast are eating more grass,” Dr. Gormezano said. “Further inland they are eating more berries.”

For the full story, see:
SINDYA N. BHANOO. “Observatory; CLIMATE CHANGE; Polar Bears Turn to Snow-Goose Egg Diet.” The New York Times (Tues., JAN. 28, 2014): D2.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date JAN. 27, 2014, and has the title “Observatory; SCIENCE; Polar Bears Turn to Snow-Goose Egg Diet.”)

The following scientific articles more fully report the results summarized above:
Gormezano, Linda J., and Robert F. Rockwell. “Dietary Composition and Spatial Patterns of Polar Bear Foraging on Land in Western Hudson Bay.” BMC Ecology 13, no. 51 (2013).
Gormezano, Linda J., and Robert F. Rockwell. “What to Eat Now? Shifts in Polar Bear Diet During the Ice-Free Season in Western Hudson Bay.” Ecology and Evolution 3, no. 10 (Sept. 2013): 3509-23.
Iles, D. T., S. L. Peterson, Linda J. Gormezano, D. N. Koons, and Robert F. Rockwell. “Terrestrial Predation by Polar Bears: Not Just a Wild Goose Chase.” Polar Biology 36, no. 9 (Sept. 2013): 1373-79.

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