Cannibal polar bears - Is climate change responsible?

A shocking video shows a polar bear attacking and eating one of its own.

Alex Bourque | Mar 21, 2016

A video has recently surfaced of a polar bear attacking and eating one of its own, and it has disturbed quite a few people. But what could be causing this gruesome behavior? According to a report from the Washington Post, the graphic video tells the tale of a species becoming increasingly desperate in a changing world.

It's not the first time a polar bear has been filmed attacking another individual, and scientists believe it has everything to do with the bears' changing environment. Polar bears rely on Arctic ice cover to hunt and prey on seals and sea lions. As ice in the Arctic melts, polar bears are having a harder time accessing their hunting grounds and are acting out in desperation and hunger.

Polar bears have also been observed diving to record depths and eating a species of dolphin that they were previously known to ignore. This could be a sign of impending disaster for the global population. There are currently 26,000 polar bears on the planet, but as food becomes scarcer, their numbers are likely to decline.

The video shows an adult male attacking a cub, while its mother looks on helplessly. The two try to flee the hungry male, but he eventually catches up. The mother, exhausted, makes one last attempt to fend off the male but it was too late.

Released by National Geographic, it reveals just how difficult it's getting for a polar bear to find a reliable meal. The risks facing polar bears are real, and it remains to be seen if they will be able to adapt to their rapidly changing environment.

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