According to a team of scientists, polar bears have been seen for the first time ever preying and eating dolphins.
The experts believe this drastic change in diet is due to the damaging effects of climate change.
The observation was made by a team of researchers from Norway who has been studying the Arctic polar bears for some time now.
The experts say that polar bears usually hunt and eat seals.
However, Jon Aras, a researcher at the Norwegian Polar Institute, has taken photos of polar bears devouring a dolphin.
Aras published his unusual findings in the new edition of Polar Research.
Aras believes that polar bears are starting to add new species to their diet mostly because of climate change. Aras said that new species are moving north due to global warming and polar bears take advantage of this.
The first time a polar bear was seen eating a dolphin was in 2014 when Aras and his team encountered a bear that was feeding on the carcass of a white-beaked dolphin.
Although it’s not uncommon for dolphins to be swimming around the Norwegian Arctic in the summer season, when the ice has melted, they have never been spotted during the cold or spring season when the waters are usually covered in a thick sheet of ice.
One possible explanation would be that Norwegian researchers have reported a strong retreat of ice.
According to the experts, there have been at least two winters with little or no ice at all in recent years.
They believe this may have attracted the dolphins to swim further north, where they most likely got trapped by the dense ice that was blown into a fjord by the powerful northern winds.
The researchers say the polar bear had probably caught the dolphins when they tried to come out to the surface of the water to breathe through a hole in the ice.
In the photos taken by the researchers, a skinny polar bear is seen devouring one of the dolphins, while the other dolphin appears to have been buried in snow to hide it from other predators and like foxes, birds or other bears.
The polar bear would return to the buried dolphin and eat it in a day or two, which gives it time to digest the first one eaten.
After the first time they saw a polar bear eating dolphins, the researchers witnessed five more cases similar to it.
Image Source: iflscience