Polar Bears Are Turning To Cannibalism Due To Climate Change

Polar Bears Are Turning To Cannibalism Due To Climate Change

By: Beatriz Esquivel -

Polar bears are one of the most beloved and, some would say, adorable species in the animal kingdom despite the fact that they are fierce killers.

Images of a polar bear floating on a small piece of ice in the middle of the Arctic made headlines around the world and became a symbol of the ongoing climate emergency and the consequences of global warming, which results in glacier melting. However, beyond this image, there are also other polar species whose habitat is endangered due to the extreme temperatures, and they too have had to change their dietary habits as a result of human action. 

With the rise of maritime commerce and the melting of the ice caps, more sections of the ocean are navigable now, so, areas that used to provide food for polar bears are now part of commercial routes and human activities that certainly affect their capacity to feed themselves. As a result, recently, there has been a reported rise in cannibalism among polar bears, with female bears with cubs being the most vulnerable targets due to the lack of food. 

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However, apart from the lack of food caused by human activity and climate change, experts also point to the possibility that this phenomenon is much more common than they thought. In other words, they believe that, since there are more people in the Arctic now, there is more visibility about the lives of polar bears and, therefore, there are more witnesses of this form of cannibalism. 

Nevertheless, even with the possibility that cannibalism is a recurring phenomenon in this species, it is true that human beings have made a significant impact in all habitats around the world, endangering and sometimes bringing entire species to extinction due to climate change, hunting, the black market, deforestation, and melting polar caps.