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Faced with a rapidly changing habitat, polar bears are adapting with a new entrée: For the first time, a polar bear was seen preying on a white-beaked dolphin carcass that had been trapped in the ice in Svalbard, a group of Norwegian islands in the Arctic Ocean.So, because of global warming, dolphins are swimming farther north and getting trapped in ice.
In April 2014, a male polar bear with a full belly was spotted near a recently devoured white-beaked dolphin, which could have weighed 120 to 680 lbs. (54 to 308 kilograms) and measured 5 to 9 feet long (1.5 to 2.7 meters), the researchers said in an article published online June 1 in the journal Polar Research. The bear was also seen with another white-beaked dolphin's thawing carcass, which he was likely saving for a later meal.
These dolphins rarely venture so far north in the Arctic; they prefer the sub-Arctic, which has less sea ice and more open water. "If it had been a more usual sea-ice year, I do not think the dolphins would have been that far north in the spring," said Jon Aars, primary author of the study and a research scientist at the Norwegian Polar Institute. [See Stunning Photos of the Polar Bears Eating Dolphins on Svalbard]