Polar bears hunt seals, hence relying on sea ice for their main meal.
Researchers followed nine polar bears over a three-year period and found that an adult polar bear requires at least one adult seal or three juveniles every 10 days to sustain itself, according to a USGS press release. Their energy consumption as calculated during the study was 1.6 times higher than previously thought. Five of the bears lost body mass over the 11 days, meaning that they had not caught enough seals to meet their energy demands. They spend around 90 percent of the time by sitting and waiting for seals near their breathing holes. Shot by Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier of the nonprofit group Sea Legacy, and published on National Geographic in early December, the video ignited a firestorm of debate about what scientists know, and don't know, about the impacts of global warming on polar bears.
Photographs of super-skinny polar bears with ribs poking through snowy-white coats have become a doomsday image of the problems faced by these highly specialised creatures - now down to as few as 22,000 individuals - because of climate change. "Unfortunately, with the rapid environmental changes occurring in Arctic sea ice, the specialization that once allowed polar bears to live in this challenging habitat has painted the animals into a physiological corner and led to devastating consequences", said wildlife eco-physiologist Terrie Williams, a study co-author who heads the university's Center for Marine Mammal Research and Conservation.
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'We found a feast and starvation lifestyle - if they missed out on seals it had a pretty dramatic effect on them, ' said a biologist who led the research.
Fickel points out that the species has seen many warmer periods during their existence, and that they might be able to adjust to a warmer world - as long as there is a healthy seal population, that is.
The reason behind this is, these predators used on the sea to catch seal but now the ice level is decreasing rapidly as the temperature is declining. The sea ice has always retreated during summer, even before climate change exacerbated the trend.
During an interview on Sunday, Donald Trump said that "the ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now, but now they're setting records".
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"If it's bad for polar bears, it might be affecting us in other ways - us being humans", Durner said.
"Pretty much every component they've found was largely confirmatory in nature", Derocher said. "If they were successful they did quite well".
Blaine Griffen, a Brigham Young University biology professor who wasn't part of the study, praised the USGS work, noting that past studies have looked at resting polar bears and polar bears on treadmills in the lab.
IUCN experts estimate that the population could decrease by 30 to 50% if the loss of sea ice continues.
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The orca could also imitate a wolf's howl, an elephant's trumpeting, and the sounds of a creaking door and a "raspberry". High-pitched, eerie and yet distinct, the sound of a voice calling the name " Amy " is unmistakable.
If you've ever wondered what it's like to be a polar bear rambling about the freezing areas near the arctic circle, now you can - thanks to this unbelievable video captured on a point-of-view camera.