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They find a new population that is better adapted to climate changes.

The Arctic's warming temperature is threatening all wildlife, but polar bears are the most vulnerable.

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They find a new population that is better adapted to climate changes.

The Arctic's warming temperature is threatening all wildlife, but polar bears are the most vulnerable. They rely on sea ice for warmth, which is becoming less and less permanent. Hunt and feed. A team of scientists discovered a new population of these animals in Southeast Greenland. They are isolated and have their own genetic makeup. Hunting. This performance gives hope for the resilience of the bears to climate change.

Let me explain: While polar bears hunt seals on sea ice, bears living in southeastern Greenland are not able to access sea ice for eight months. They had to find a way to not starve. The solution was in glacial ice. This allows them to hunt and live all year without needing to travel to other areas for food like the Arctic polar bears. This finding could shed light on the future prospects of the species, as the current conditions of sea ice in southeastern Greenland look similar to the High Arctic at the end of the century. The researchers.

This study, published in Science on Thursday, brings together 37 years of scientific and historical knowledge regarding the habitat, movement and genetics of Greenland's Polar Bears. It also includes indigenous ecological knowledge. Although isolated polar bear populations were documented to have lived in the southeastern region, historical records and traditional knowledge had not been able to provide much information. Kristin Laidre from the University of Washington Physics Laboratory was the study's principal author. She says that these bears not only have a unique way of eating, but also their genetics is very different to the other 19 polar bear species.

Researchers believe that part the reason why the bear population is so isolated may be that their environment is closed off between mountains, the Greenland Ice Sheet and the open waters of Denmark Strait. This has had a limited impact on the number of bears in this area (only a few hundred). This may have also affected their body measurements. Adult females in this region are smaller than others. Their offspring are smaller.

These polar bears are able to survive in such habitat, which suggests that sea-ending and particularly those that regularly dump ice into oceans could be small-scale climate refugia, as the sea ice recedes. This is something that was not considered until now, and has implications for conservation of the species. "This habitat is not present in all of the Arctic where the polar bears reside, but it is concentrated in Greenland, Svalbard, and Greenland. We need to be cautious about extrapolating from our findings," Laidre says. He warns that long-term monitoring is necessary to determine the viability of bears in southeastern Greenland, and what happens to sub-populations of polar bears as they grow. They are being separated from the rest Arctic because of shrinking sea ice.

For the fieldwork, it was necessary to fly four hours daily by helicopter from Greenland's coastal communities or other bases in order to reach bear habitat. / Laidre et al./Science

"The main threat to all polar bears is the loss of Arctic sea ice. This is not changing. The Arctic sea ice is continuing to decrease, which will impact the survival rate of most polar bears. Current warming trends predict a 30% global decline of polar bears in the next three generations, or about 35 years. While glacial ice might help some polar bears to survive longer periods of time in warmer climates, it is not accessible to the majority. most polar bears. Laidre says that monitoring these bears could help us to learn more about the future.

But the glaciers are also melting... What will happen?

Global warming is also affecting glacial ice. The future is uncertain and the bears of southeastern Greenland won't be around for long. This acknowledges the researcher.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature will determine if the bears of southeastern Greenland have been recognized as an independent population. This is the 20th largest in the world.

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