Make you Fink on Friday

WARNING: graphic images

Everybody has heard about global warming. It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not. It doesn’t matter whether you think it is ‘man-made’ or not.

It is happening.

Everywhere.

Glaciers are receding all over the world. The polar ice-caps are shrinking. The oceans are getting warmer.

Whether or not man is responsible the effects of global warming are reaching catastrophic levels. Various aspects of the flora and fauna of this little planet are changing, changing quickly and irrevocably.

I have real doubts that man is solely responsible for the current situation of the warming of the planet, but I have no doubt that we are exacerbating the natural occurrence. I also have grave doubts that anything we do now is too little, too late; far too late. We can have conferences, meetings, protests all we want but the future has already been decided by forces greater than us and well beyond our control.

When you read of changes like this week, that show clearly the misery that is to become our legacy. Changes that are changing the very face of nature:

Polar bear ‘cannibalism’

It is an image that is sure to shock many people.

An adult polar bear is seen dragging the body of a cub that it has just killed across the Arctic sea ice.

Polar bears normally hunt seals but if these are not available, the big predators will seek out other sources of food – even their own kind.

The picture was taken by environmental photojournalist Jenny Ross in Olgastretet, a stretch of water in the Svalbard archipelago.

“This type of intraspecific predation has always occurred to some extent,” she told BBC News.

“However, there are increasing numbers of observations of it occurring, particularly on land where polar bears are trapped ashore, completely food-deprived for extended periods of time due to the loss of sea ice as a result of climate change.”

The journalist was relating the story behind her pictures here at the 2011 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, the largest annual gathering of Earth scientists.

A paper describing the kill event in July 2010 has just been published in the journal Arctic. It is co-authored with Dr Ian Stirling, a polar bear biologist from Environment Canada.

Ross had approached the adult in a boat. She could see through her telephoto lens that the animal had a meal, but it was only when she got up close that she realised it was a juvenile bear.

The kill method used by the adult was exactly the same as polar bears use on seals – sharp bites to the head.

“As soon as the adult male became aware that a boat was approaching him, he basically stood to attention – he straddled the young bear’s body, asserting control over it and conveying ‘this is my food’,” the journalist recalled.

“He then picked up the bear in his jaws and, just using the power of his jaws and his neck, transported it from one floe to another. And eventually, when he was a considerable distance away, he stopped and fed on the carcass.”

Ross said there was another bear in the area and she speculated that it might have been the mother of the dead juvenile.

Olgastretet is a passage of water that divides the two main islands of Svalbard. Traditionally, it has been an area that has stayed ice-covered throughout the year.

But the recent dramatic retreat of Arctic sea ice in summer months has seen open water appear in the area for extended periods.

And without their customary platform on which to hunt seals, bears have gone looking for alternative sources of food, says Ross.

“On land, they’re looking for human garbage and human foods; they’re starting to prey on seabirds and their eggs.

“None of those alternative foods can support them, but they are seeking them out.

“Predating another bear is a way to get food; it’s probably a relatively easy way for a big adult male. And it seems that because of the circumstances of the loss of sea ice – that kind of behaviour may be becoming more common.”

Source: BBC News

And on the other side of the pole…

The moment cannibal polar bear eats baby cub

Grisly: The large male polar bear was spotted eating a cub in northern Canada last month

A group of tourists were left horrified when they came across the grisly sight of a polar bear eating a cub in northern Canada.

The large male adult bear had separated the baby from its mother and killed it in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area, in northern Manitoba, close to Hudson Bay.

Witnesses were left shaken and tearful after the incident.

According to scientists, eight cases of mature male polar bears eating cubs have been reported this year in Churchill. Four cases were reported to Manitoba Conservation and four to Environment Canada.

Tour guide John Gunter said: ‘A big male polar bear separated a young cub from its mother and had its way with the cub.

‘But the whole time, while that mother polar bear watched and witnessed, and actually after the big bears left, she still tried to take care of it.’

One theory for the cannibalism is that climate change is melting the bears’ Arctic hunting grounds, forcing them to survive on land for longer and hence leading the starving animals to turn on their own for food.

Source: Mail-Online Read more

Admittedly, these are the current ‘horror stories’ of the week. But they demonstrate graphically that the world is changing, whether we want to admit it or not; whether man is at fault or not. We cannot turn our backs on this kind of evidence.

If we care to extrapolate this scenario along lines that have been suggested scientifically; that the current global warming is possibly connected to a coming ice-age. Different sources have predicted everything from a ‘mini’ affair (like the one in the middle-ages about 1350), to a full blown freeze that could wipe out 90% of the life on the planet. Scientific findings have determined that we are overdue for a doozy like the one that gave us woolly mammoths. The terrible thing is it could happen so quickly and there’s not enough energy resources on the planet to keep even the 1% warm, talk about ‘freezing their funds’.

There remains the questions…

When?

How much of the globe will be effected?

How severe will the food shortage be?

And, the million dollar question… Will we be the next polar bears driven to desperation by hunger?

Game over

.

The genie is out of the bottle…

And

There’s no putting him back!

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