Polar bears are carnivorous animals found in sea-snow largely within the Arctic Circle. A new research to understand the decline has revealed that there is a physiological factor behind their population decline.The findings reflect that polar bears have metabolic rates higher than previously thought.
With environment getting disturbed due to climate changes, it becomes more difficult for growing number of bears to catch enough prey to fulfill their energy needs. The research was conducted on polar bears and their behaviour, hunting success and metabolic rates of adult female polar bears. The results revealed was very shocking as the field metabolic rates they measured were more than 50 percent higher than previously predicted. Most of the subject bears weren't catching enough fat-rich marine mammal prey to meet their energy demands as they lost body mass. The research was done at the start of the period from April through July; when polar bears catch most of their prey and put on most of the body fat they need to sustain throughout the year. The change in climate is forcing polar bears to move greater distances and making it more difficult for them to catch prey to survive. As the Arctic warms and more sea ice melts, the bears have to move greater distances that expends more energy, when they are fasting. Polar bears could lower their metabolic rate to save energy if they were not successful in getting prey. The research concludes that polar bears actually have much higher energy demands than estimated.
By: Anita Aishvarya