Unfair fight: Polar bears battle for food

Mike Krumboltz

Polar bears have a reputation for being cute, cuddly and clumsy (thanks, Coca-Cola!). The reality is a bit grimmer, especially with climate change.

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While visiting the Arctic, wildlife biologist Ian Bullock recorded a fight between two polar bears. What's both interesting and tragic is that the male polar bear was challenged by a much thinner female bear.

Why would a bear, clearly outmatched, take on a larger opponent? Bullock told NBC News that he believes the fight was inspired by the female's desperation. With a cub close behind, the female polar bear attempted to get some of the male's meal. The male, much larger and well-fed, quickly rose to the challenge and the female and cub had no choice but to back off.

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Bullock believes that thanks to global warming, there isn't enough ice for the bears to fish from. The National Wildlife Federation explains, "As available sea ice decreases, polar bears have to swim farther to find suitable habitat, and it takes much longer to find a meal. Compounding the problem, sea ice loss also impacts polar bears' main food source—seals." Two-thirds of polar bears will disappear by 2050, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

This example, which you can watch below, brings home the problem in heartbreaking clarity.