ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The diminishing sea ice is said to be to be putting polar bear at risk of starvation. According to the latest research, most of them will struggle to adapt to a land-based diet which may not be rich enough to help them survive. This is because Polar bears are known to be marine mammals that spend most of their lives on sea ice from where they dine primarily on fat-rich seal meat.
This however is contradicting another research that is indicating that the bears are likely to benefit from bird eggs, berries and other food found on the land. The U.S. Geological Survey research wildlife biologist, Karyn Rode and who is also the lead author has explained that the food that the bears are finding may not completely replace the lipid – rich or the bearded seals.
This is despite the fact that the bears are said to be eating terrestrial foods whereby the behavior may not be widespread. According to Rode and her team mates, only 30 bears from a population ranging between 900 to 2,000 had been identified eating bird’s eggs.
Dr Ian Stirling who is a member of Scientific Advisory Council at Polar Bears International has since disputed Rode’s and her colleagues conclusion citing that having studied the animal for 45 years, land does not have enough food substitutes for the Polar bears whose main food sources are the seals.
“The bears are large mammals and are highly specialized to specific ecological requirements hence if the same changes instantly, they may be left in a bad situation whereby they may have to try harder to adapt”. In addition food limitations could be a problem especially to the larger bears.
This was expounded by Stirling. Polar bears depend on sea ice to hunt seals which is currently diminishing hence all the fear of putting the bears at the risk of starvation. Besides, they cannot swim in the open water so as to catch the seals hence the more need for the ice.