it’s a bear eat bear world!

A new article in the journal Arctic suggests that polar bear cannibalism — typically the predation of small bears or cubs by much larger adult males — is either much more commonplace than previously thought, or has lately become more common.

The scientists are asking: are polar bears more often resorting to cannibalism because of increased hunger and desperation, or are we simply more frequently observing a behavior that has always existed?

They say it’s an important question to answer, because it will reveal whether or not the Svalbard polar bear population has started to feel the heat from climate change.

LiveScience, 15 Dec 2011