18 Jul '11, 11pm

A female Alaskan polar bear swam for 426 miles searching for ice. #climatechange

A female Alaskan polar bear swam for 426 miles searching for ice. #climatechange

Biologists studying polar bears off the coast of Alaska have found that when cubs are forced to go on marathon swims with their mothers due to loss of sea ice, nearly half of them don't survive the journey. The study, scheduled to be announced at the International Bear Association Conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, confirms the dangers of ice loss to Alaska's polar bear population. It's been widely theorized that adult polar bears have been forced to cross ever-longer stretches of open ocean as the polar regions heat up. The new work, by U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Science Center researchers Anthony Pagano, Kristin Simac, George Durner, and Geoff York, confirms that theory. It also reveals that these open-water swims have a dramatic effect on young cubs, which are forced to follow their mothers in search of food and solid ground.

Full article: http://www.onearth.org/article/polar-bear-cubs-drowning

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