18 Jul '11, 3pm

Long-distance swims in Arctic are leading to increased mortality of polar bear cubs, new study shows.

18 Jul 2011: Long-Distance Swims Are Increasing Mortality of Polar Bear Cubs Rapid sea ice loss in the Arctic is forcing polar bears to swim ever-longer distances and is leading to greater mortality of their cubs, according to a new study. From 2004 to 2009, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and other institutions placed 68 GPS collars on polar bears in the southern Beaufort and Chukchi seas. During that period, 20 polar bears were forced to embark on long swims that averaged 104 miles and four days, with one bear swimming as far as 426 miles. Eleven of the 20 bears that made long-distance swims had young cubs, and the researchers found that five of those bears lost cubs during the lengthy swims — a 45 percent mortality rate. The study is the first to comprehensively document what many scientists had long suspected — that the steady loss of Arctic sea ice is shrin...

Full article: http://e360.yale.edu/digest/long-distance_swims_are_incre...

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