Polar bears are exhibiting flexible foraging behavior.
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According to a January 21 news release from the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), a three-part study of Hudson Bay polar bears by scientists at AMNH found strong evidence that Arctic warming is causing the animals to turn to alternate food sources.
As polar bears have a limited amount of time to hunt their historically preferred prey – ringed seal pups – Arctic warming reduces the time that polar bears can remain on the ice, and forces the animals to remain on land. The new study indicates that at least some polar bears in the western Hudson Bay population are using alternate foraging tactics while on land, such as prey-switching and eating a mixed diet of plants and animals.