Scientists May Have Discovered A New Population Of Polar Bears

Credit: Unsplash, @hansjurgen007

Southeast Greenland is home to a small but genetically unique community of polar bears.

Polar bears may live without recourse to sea ice, which is essential for their survival, according to researchers who examined and followed the bears. Rather, they rely on the freshwater ice provided by Greenland’s frost sheets.

When hunting for food like ringed seals, the 19 documented polar bear populations use sea ice to traverse long distances. They also use breathing openings near the ice to catch their food. Seals’ calories may enable them to conserve strength for periods when nourishment & sea ice are rare. Seals are an excellent source of calories.

Arctic sea ice is quickly melting and disappearing caused by climate change as the region heats much more than twice as quickly as the remainder of the earth does. Polar bears have fewer options for food as the sea ice recedes, so they have to relocate to land.

The southeast Greenland ice bears, on the other hand, like to stay close to home, therefore they’ve developed a particular adaptation to their habitat. However, polar bears may reach freshwater ice as well as some sea ice despite their isolation attributable to Greenland’s frozen sheet plus mountains as well as swift coast current flow and open seas. This lets them capture seals.

Because of this, the bears of south Greenland, as well as the Norwegian territory of Svalbard, are able to thrive in a climatic sanctuary that is both distinctive and tiny in scope.

The polar bears of southeast Greenland, according to the experts, have been isolated for hundreds of years. When it comes to this particular site and its bears, there is a first recorded mention of a bear in what seems like a fjord around 1830, according to the researchers.

To account for their unique genetic makeup, the scientists recommend that polar bears living in southeast Greenland be classified as the species’ 20th subgroup.

William Reid
A science writer through and through, William Reid’s first starting working on offline local newspapers. An obsessive fascination with all things science/health blossomed from a hobby into a career. Before hopping over to Optic Flux, William worked as a freelancer for many online tech publications including ScienceWorld, JoyStiq and Digg. William serves as our lead science and health reporter.