An Unbearable Truth: Climate Change Starves Polar Bear to Death

A gaunt polar bear turns up dead in northern Norway, and scientists conclude it’s starvation caused by global warming.

A polar bear and its cubs. (Photo: Mathieu Belanger / Reuters)

Aug 6, 2013
Anna Hess is an editorial intern at TakePart. She is the Crime and Legal beat reporter for the University of Pennsylvania’s daily newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian, and volunteers as a mentor in the West Philadelphia public school district.

Climate change is taking no survivors.

Along the coast of the Arctic Ocean in northern Norway, a malnourished polar bear has been found dead—view the sad photograph here—and scientists are blaming the death on the melting of polar sea ice due to global warming.

The demise is shocking, given that back in April scientists from the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) described the polar bear as healthy, reports The GuardianThey even observed the bear in its proper range, some 250 kilometers away from where its remains were discovered.

Its far-flung final resting place proves that it died searching for food, scientists tell The Guardian. Polar bears base their diets almost entirely on hunting seals, which can only be accomplished when there is enough Artic ice from which to launch a hunting excursion.

Many Arctic ice cap ranges have already experienced huge losses, and more are expected to disappear completely, leaving polar bears to continue ranging in vain, states a sea ice study published on May 21 in the Geophysical Research Letters.

The study posits that, by 2020, the Arctic will have nearly ice-free summers—that’s three months of the year when polar bears will have no feeding grounds.

When surveying the fallen bear, Dr. Stirling of the NPI told The Guardian, “From his lying position in death, the bear appears to simply have starved and died where he dropped…having been reduced to little more than skin and bone.”

So another polar bear bites the dust, slain by climate change’s hot hands.

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