Incredible discovery made in Greenland: hundreds of specimens belonging to an unknown subpopulation of polar bears have adapted to living without ice.
The discovery was published in the journal Science by an international team led by Kristin Laidre of the University of Washington.
Polar bears, a species in danger of extinction, of which we speak above, live in a habitat comparable to what the Arctic will be at the end of the 21st century due to climate change. It would appear that this polar bear population has remained isolated for several centuries.
Research authors said: "We wanted to look into this region because we didn't know much about polar bears in southeastern Greenland, but we never expected to find a new subpopulation. We knew from historical records and indigenous knowledge that there were some bears in the area.
area. We just didn't know how special they were. In a way, these bears give us an idea of how Greenland bears might behave in future climate scenarios.
Greenland: Polar bears are adapting to living without ice
Sea ice conditions in southeastern Greenland today resemble those expected for northeastern Greenland by the end of this century.
If we care about the survival of the species, then yes, our findings are promising. I think they show us how some polar bears could persist despite climate change, but I don't think the glacier habitat will support huge numbers of polar bears.
There isn't enough. We still expect to see a sharp decline in polar bears across the Arctic due to climate change. " Beth Shapiro, a geneticist at the University of California at Santa Cruz and a researcher at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute: "They are the most genetically isolated polar bear population on the planet.
We know that this population has lived separately from others for at least several hundred years. and that all this time it has been small in size. "