Considering that my college mascot is a polar bear, I would definitely consider myself a fan of the beautiful, ferocious creature. We’ve all known for a while now that these animals are struggling to survive as global climate change melts their icy homes. What most of us do not know regarding the polar bear situation is that global climate change is starting to dramatically change the creatures’ eating habits. Polar bears generally feast on seals, but since the bears now find themselves increasingly trapped on smaller ice masses with no seals nearby to hunt, they are turning to another form of sustenance: each other! There has always been an existence of cannibalism among the polar bear species, as full-grown male bears occasionally eat their young during times of food shortage. However, as the times of plenty cease to exist, the bears turn more and more to cannibalism to survive. This makes sense evolutionarily for the bears, as all individual organisms are essentially machines that reproduce and proliferate genes. Sometimes the best way to do that is to promote the survival of your own genes over those of your offspring—who only house half of your genetic material as opposed to you, who houses your full genetic material.
So if you’re an animal advocate, this should really concern you, as this global climate change introduces yet another way to kill off the polar bears. Even if you’re not an animal advocate, this news hopefully will strike a cord with you. If global climate change is leading polar bears to cannibalism, then who is next? Humans?
Look to the BBC website for more information about polar bear cannibalism: