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Polar bears turning to inbreeding as climate change disrupts their habitats

Polar Bears-Thermal Imaging
Posted at 6:27 PM, Sep 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-09 21:27:20-04

Polar bears appear to be turning to inbreeding for survival.

A study published in the Royal Society Journals shows a loss of up to 10% of genetic diversity in the polar bear population from Svalbard Archipelago, Norway.

The area has been affected by “rapid sea ice loss,” the study says.

"It is worrisome because the loss of genetic diversity and likely inbreeding depression could result in reduced survival and productivity for this iconic species," Simo Njabulo Maduna, the lead author of the study, told CBS News.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, polar bears are a “threatened” species due to loss of sea ice “resulting from climate change.”

In addition to inbreeding, a study out of Russia showed polar bears are changing their diet which typically consists of seals due to climate change. Researchers say the animals are resorting to eating more birds and even showing cannibalistic traits.