When we think of the animals being affected by climate change, the first species we think about is the polar bear. As ice caps are melting and their habitats are diminishing, we are getting closer and closer to the extinction of these Arctic animals.
However, scientists have recently been studying a group of several hundred, genetically isolated polar bears in Southeast Greenland, that seem to have adapted to the effects of climate change.
Polar bears hunt seals and to do this they wait by holes in blocks of floating ice to wait for the seals to come up for air. Climate change has meant that this sea ice is melting making it harder for polar bears to catch food.
The polar bears in Greenland are living in freshwater fjords, where there is no sea ice, and they are still managing to catch seals. They are doing this by using blocks of glacier ice, from the Greenland Ice Sheet, like they would with blocks of sea ice. This way of hunting is sustaining them for eight months of a year, when the sea ice has melted.
There have never been any previous recordings of polar bears hunting this way, and it appears to be unique only to this subpopulation of polar bears. This possibly gives an indication that polar bears will adapt to changes being made through climate change. Although the chances of all populations of polar bears adapting to this freshwater way of hunting is very slim. As glacier ice is uncommon throughout the Arctic, and the only other place where it can be found, apart from Greenland, is Svalbard.