Scientists find new population of polar bears in sea-ice free region | Daily News

Scientists find new population of polar bears in sea-ice free region

GREENLAND: Polar bears face an existential threat from the rapid decline of Arctic sea ice, which they rely on as platforms to hunt seals.

But in a new study, scientists have identified an isolated subpopulation of polar bears in Southeast Greenland that instead make use of freshwater ice pouring into the ocean from the region's glaciers, suggesting this particular habitat is less susceptible than others to Climate Change.

Their findings, described in the journal Science on Thursday, open up the tantalizing possibility that at least some pockets of the species might be able to survive further into this century, when Arctic sea ice is expected to disappear completely during summer months.

Each year, the team would spend one month in springtime, staying in the nearest settlement Kuummiit, which is a two-hour helicopter ride from where the bears live. Fuel depots had to be staged along the route in advance down the coastline, creating a hopskotch-like commute to work.

The team tagged the bears with satellite tracking devices, and collected genetic samples by either capturing bears or firing biopsy darts into their rumps.

- THE BANGKOK POST


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