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Where has the endangered polar bear found refuge?

Greenland polar bear lives on freshwater ice, not sea ice
Living in isolation and estimating evolution according to the environment

A female polar bear and two one-year-old bear cubs walk on a Greenland glacier in March 2015. Greenland = AP News

A herd of polar bears has been discovered living in a muddy freshwater glacier in southeastern Greenland. As the sea ice gradually disappears due to global warming, and the polar bear is on the brink of extinction, there is an interpretation that ‘freshwater glacier’ is evidence that it can be a refuge for polar bears.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported this on the 16th (local time), citing the internationally renowned scientific journal ‘Science’.

Dr. Christine Laird, a researcher at the University of Washington Institute for Applied Physics, who wrote the report, said, “The found group of polar bears depended on freshwater glaciers from the surface ice of Greenland to survive. said.

An expert in the study of the Arctic Circle, he adds, although these features are unusual, they can also be found elsewhere in Greenland and in the Svalbard Islands in the Arctic Ocean, far from Norway.

However, these packs of polar bears differed from the normal polar bears, which lived by hunting seals in sea ice.

Polar bears in other regions can weigh up to 250 kg, but here the polar bear weighed only 180 kg and had fewer cubs. It is believed that they evolved in response to the environment after living in isolation for hundreds of years, the researchers said.

Three polar bears walking on sea ice in southeast Greenland in April 2015. Greenland = AP News

Scientists still believe that polar bears living elsewhere will have a hard time surviving if all the sea ice melts away.

Todd Atwood, a wildlife biologist at the U.S. Geological Research Institute who studies the ecology of the Beaufort Sea in southern Alaska, said that while the study is an important step forward in polar bear research, polar bears living in Alaska, Canada and Russia may be able to survive in freshwater glaciers like Greenland polar bears. pointed out that it does not mean that there is

“Once the sea ice disappears, polar bears will have to live on the bare ground by catching small birds or grazing on grass,” he added.

Arctic sea ice spreads widely from winter to spring, begins to decrease in summer, and remains only partially in September.

According to NASA satellites, summer Arctic sea ice is shrinking by 13% every decade.

According to the 2020 scientific journal ‘Natural Climate Change’, some scientists are concerned that polar bears will be on the verge of extinction by the end of this century if climate change continues according to current trends.

Dr. Sorsten Marcus, who manages the Ice and Snow Science Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said, “We are constantly monitoring changes in sea ice width and thickness. said.




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