The diet of Polar bears' primarily comprises of seals which are hunted on the sea ice. With increase in melting of ice in the summer, the number of seal is reduced, creating problems for the white furry creatures. A new study has revealed that polar bears across the Arctic region are unable to cope up with food crisis during summers due to increased melting of ice, and end up starving.
The researchers had thought that the animals would enter a low-activity state termed 'walking hibernation' when there's lack of food just like most bears do. However, when they studied two dozen bears in the Beaufort Sea, north of Alaska, it turned out they just starved in warmer weather. This pointed towards the low survival chances of the animal species in a warmer world.
John Whiteman from the University of Wyoming, the paper's lead author said, "Polar bears' metabolism was similar to typical food limited mammal rather than a hibernating bear. However, we found that even though the bears may not be able to adapt when it comes to food, they seemed to have a surprisingly significant adaption that helps them to cope with swimming in cold water. Nevertheless, despite of the strong performance in cold water, it doesn't compensate for the lack of food and the inability of the bears to slow down their metabolism in response."
The study has been published in Science.