Russian Conservationists Report 1st Return of Polar Bear to Pacific Arctic Ice in 20 Years
© Sputnik / Ilya NaimushinPolar Bear
© Sputnik / Ilya Naimushin/
VLADIVOSTOK Russia (Sputnik) – Scientists have recorded the first cooling of the Pacific Arctic Region in two decades amid the global warming, allowing walruses and polar bears to return to their habitual life style on the ice without showing up at the seashore, Anatoly Kochnev, a researcher at the Beringia national park said on Thursday.
"Primarily, we can talk about temperature drop in Chukotka and Alaska, because there, no walruses were this year on the spots [at the shore] that they were occupying for the past 20 years… This is not anomaly, but a return to normalcy. The anomaly was during the past 20 years, during the warming. Now the ice is not that heavy as it was 40 years ago, for example, but close to it. I am happy for walruses and bears, as all of them got a respite," Kochnev said.
The ice in the coastal waters did not melt throughout the summer, and walruses lived on the ice, though in the past years, the animals formed rookeries at the shore, the expert said.
"[Polar] bears go away on ice too. The problem is that when there is no ice, they cannot hunt for seals. [Polar bears] like them more than walruses, as seals are tastier, fatter, and easier to seize," Kochnev said.
The expert explained that the ice shrank, which prompted walruses and polar bears to go out to the seashore in search of food. Polar bears began hunting for walruses, though they used to do so rarely.
The polar bear is in the Russian Red Data Book and has been recorded as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Polar bear hunting has been prohibited since 1957.