Polar Bears Eating Their Young

Not that long ago we heard of Polar Bears drowning because they had to make longer swims to find food, now they are turning to cannibalism and have been seen eating their own young.

Not many people realize that the land of the polar bear is not land at all. They live in a world that is mostly ice. They need the ice covering the northern extremes to reach their feeding grounds. No ice they cannot reach their food source, seals. The small areas of land where they do live, Northern Canada and Norway, for example, offers no food for them, other than other bears.

File:Polar Bears Play fight.JPG


Scientists who have studied the bears have never seen acts of cannibalism until now. A report in the Toronto Sun (Nov 28, 2009) indicates that between four to eight cases of cannibalism in these magnificent animals have been observed by tour operators and scientists. Typically adult males were observed eating young animals.

Biologist Ian Stirling, who has never seen a case of cannibalism in his first 30 years of studying the bears found these numbers alarming, and even more of a call for awareness of environmental problems which have been plaguing the bears for some time. He has been witnessing rare acts of cannibalism for the past 5 years, with this years numbers being particularly staggering.

The bears spend their summer on land, and lose up to 30% of their body mass, living off their fat reserves, as they await the fall and winter freeze up, which renews access to their hunting grounds. A freeze up which normally started in October and was pretty much a guaranteed thing by early November, still has not occurred this (2009) December.

File:Polar bear arctic.JPG


Typically it is the larger males killing, and eating, the younger animals, and in some cases even adult females. Some times the cause of death is unknown but in the past these bears would not have turned to eating their own kind.

Polar Bears have long been the poster child for global warming. Stories like this might make them less cute in the publics eye, but it should serve as a warning of a crisis. 

Nay-sayers of global warming often point out colder than usual temperatures in their area, failing to realize that temperature shifts are part of the problem, and that it is not colder up north where it should be.

As a note, the population of the Polar Bear was estimated at 50,000 in the 1950’s and is currently estimated at 20,000-25,000. They are the most carnivorous of the bear family.

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11 Responses to “Polar Bears Eating Their Young”
  1. Brenda Nelson Says...

    On December 8, 2009 at 11:36 am

    very tragic indeed.

  2. Ruby Hawk Says...

    On December 8, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Such a horrible situation and we will see worse.

  3. Bo Russo Says...

    On December 8, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    This sucks! I’ve always thought bears and especially polar bears are magnificent animals, as per usual human impedance has effed up mother nature one more time.

  4. Karen Gross Says...

    On December 8, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    Very alarming.

  5. oldster Says...

    On December 9, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Not sure if the seal bashers still operate, that wouldn’t help.
    Pity humans don’t return to cannibalism that would help. Fishing stock wars and overfishing also doesn’t help.
    Their only hope is a zoo — where humans can be properly controlled.

  6. Benek Says...

    On December 9, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Very sad and horrific; yet human race is the utmost cannibal….causing all this and more!

  7. deep blue Says...

    On December 10, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Survival instinct. These animals have seen worst of the weather and mother nature that they too think violently in extreme necessities just like us. Nice post, Mark.

  8. mkd1788 Says...

    On December 12, 2009 at 6:44 am

    informative post…

  9. catlord Says...

    On December 13, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Yo! -Where’s my ice flo?

  10. Vicky Steele Says...

    On January 3, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Very informative and shocking post. It is very true (as the author suggests) that the cuteness factor is often the reason that people support creatures like Polar Bears. I really hope that society can see past the cute fluffy bear and appreciate that the behaviour they are demonstrating is an act of survival. They are telling us that if they do not eat their young it is unlikely that they will survive and the future of any surviving offspring is even less certain. I hope we are listening.

  11. david Says...

    On January 20, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    why are they eating their young? because the starving

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