Polar bears have always had a unique diet. Primarily, they eat fatty foods. That usually means seals, fish, and other water-bound creatures. That being said though, there are some things that they didn’t eat previously. Dolphins for one are a species that polar bears hadn’t ever eaten to date. That is until now, as researchers have evidence of polar bears hunting, capturing and eating dolphins.
Conservationists and scientists unanimously agree now though that the warming waters further north have pushed dolphins into the spaces where they are now targeted by polar bears. This is something that hasn’t been seen before, and is both a cautionary tale of what could happen if we continue to see global temperatures rise, as well as a tale of what predators up north will do if their habitat is continually threatened.
Jon Aars of the Norwegian Polar Institute, who led the research, pointed out that, “The warming of the Arctic is significantly changing the ecosystem and relations between species.” He continued by pointing out that, “This is the first record of this species as polar bear prey.”
At its core, this is a matter of a changing climate and how it’s impacting the way various animals and species interact with each other. The situation though is bleak for polar bears, as scientists point out. The team pointed out that there was one example of a polar bear whose ribs could be seen, eating one dolphin and then covering up the second dolphin that it had killed – saving it for a later meal.
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This is the type of impact humans are having in the long-term. As Aars pointed out, “Even if they saw the bear, the Dolphins did not necessarily have any other choice.” This is ultimately the type of impact humans are having on the climate globally. Thanks to increased emissions, we’re getting to a point where we’re doing damage on not only the species that currently exist in our climates, but also those who are finding their way to climates where they cannot survive adequately.