Polar bear cub hitches a ride
No replies to this topic
Posted 03 October 2009 - 07:40 AM
Arctic waters are at best chilly and at worst close to freezing. Which may explain why a polar bear cub has recently been seen riding on the back of its mother as the bears swim across parts of the Arctic Ocean. The cub then briefly rode her back as she clambered out of the icy water, a unique event photographed by a tourist.
Experts have rarely seen the behaviour, and they say the latest find suggests it may be a more common practice than previously thought. Dr Jon Aars from the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromso describes what happened in the journal Polar Biology.
On the 21 July 2006, Mrs Angela Plumb, a tourist from the UK, was aboard a ship in the mouth of a fjord in the Svalbard archipelago. Holidaying in the wildlife hotspot of Duvefjorden, Nordaustlandet, Mrs Plumb spotted the mother bear with a seven-month-old cub hitching a ride on her back.
"The cub was on the back of the polar bear when it was in the water, then it got out of the water and stayed on its mother's back a little, then she shook it off," Mrs Plumb explains. For large parts of the year, polar bears (Ursus maritimus) live among the sea ice, feeding mainly on seals.
The challenge for the bears is to navigate the many areas of open water between the islands of floating ice. Seeing the bear had a radio collar, Mrs Plumb got in touch with Dr Aars to report her sighting and asked if this was a common behaviour. "I hadn't seen this behaviour before or heard about it so I asked other researchers and found out it is something that has been observed but not frequently at all," Dr Aars says.
Out of the cold
Cubs are known to ride their mother's back when moving through deep snow as they leave their den areas. Cubs of other bear species such as the sloth bear also ride on their parents.
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users