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Deanna Rivera in World News

Last updated: 01 March 2020, 04:58 GMT

According to a Russian expert, because of the melting ice in the Arctic, polar bears have now less room to roam for food increasing their numbers of becoming cannibals. The continuous human activity eroding the animal’s habitat have big impact for polar bears to change their behaviors.

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Ilya Mordvintsev, a senior researcher at Moscow's Severtsov Institute of Problems of Ecology and Evolution, spoke of his concerns about polar bears in a conference in St Petersburg.

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Mordintsev 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."

He added:

"We state that cannibalism in polar bears is increasing."



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Mordvintsev pointed out that it could be due to several reasons, including lack of food and increasing numbers of people working in the Arctic for their studies.

"In some seasons there is not enough food and large males attack females with cubs," he said.

Adding:

"Now we get information not only from scientists but also from the growing number of oil workers and defence ministry employees."

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And because of its untapped oil and gas resources, major oil companies from many countries scrambled in exploiting this huge reserve of oil threatening the peaceful lives of the polar bears, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

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They explained on their website:

"Contact with oil spills can reduce the insulating effect of a bear's fur requiring them to use more energy to get warm, and can poison them if ingested.”



Also,

"Polar bears can also be exposed to toxic chemicals such as pesticides through their prey, which can affect a bear's biological functioning and ability to reproduce."

Mordvintsev also explained, the area from the Gulf of Ob to the Barents Sea - a region where polar bears used to hunt - is now a busy route for ships carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG).

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"The Gulf of Ob was always a hunting ground for the polar bear," he said.

Sadly,

"Now it has broken ice all year round."






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