Polar bears are being forced into cannibalism due to human activity and climate change, a Russian scientist has said.
Ilya Mordvintsev, a polar bear expert, said the bears’ habitat is being eroded by melting ice and humans.
Polar bears are being increasingly forced onto the shore, as disappearing sea ice means they cannot hunt swimming seals. Over the last two decades, Arctic ice levels have dwindled by around 40 percent – making it more difficult to the animals to hunt.
Speaking at a presentation in St Petersburg, and quoted by Interfax news agency, Mordvintsev said: “Cases of cannibalism among polar bears are a long-established fact, but we’re worried that such cases used to be found rarely while now they are recorded quite often.
“We state that cannibalism in polar bears is increasing…In some seasons there is not enough food and large males attack females with cubs.”
Another reason aside from this lack of food could be humans encroaching on the bears’ territory, as the number of people working in the Arctic increasese, the scientist added, saying: “Now we get information not only from scientists but also from the growing number of oil workers and defense ministry employees.”