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Home* News and Stories → Polar bears feed on goo­se colo­nies

Polar bears feed on goo­se colo­nies

It is no news that polar bears are oppor­tu­ni­stic fee­ders, taking almost any­thing they can get down into the sto­mach. Recent obser­va­tions point towards a pos­si­bly increased ten­den­cy to visit Bar­na­cle goo­se colo­nies on small islands on the west coast of Spits­ber­gen in the ear­ly sum­mer, when the nests are easy prey. Accor­ding to Dutch bio­lo­gist Jou­ke Prop, in the 1970s bears visi­ted this area only by chan­ce when they came with drif­ting ice in late May or ear­ly June, wit­hout pay­ing too much atten­ti­on to bree­ding geese. In the 1980s, no bears were obser­ved at all, while bear have visi­ted the colo­nies fre­quent­ly in recent years. Inte­res­t­ingly, they tend to come in late June, when the­re is no ice in the area, but some­thing in the nests to feed on. — Coin­ci­dence or new­ly deve­lo­ped beha­viour? Unknown so far.

In any case, after a total of 4 (!) bear visits within a few days, bree­ding suc­cess of the Bar­na­cle geese was redu­ced to some­thing in the area of 1 %.

Polar bear with Pink-foo­ted goo­se. Edgeøya, mid July 2009

Polar bears feed on goose colonies - Habenichtbukta

Source: Sval­bard Sci­ence Forum



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last modification: 2014-07-01 · copyright: Rolf Stange