Experts: Climate Change Could Mean More Polar Bear Attacks on Humans
Last week, a polar bear killed one adult and one child in the remote Alaskan village of Wales. The horrific incident was the first attack of its kind in Alaska in 30 years.
Last week, a polar bear killed one adult and one child in the remote Alaskan village of Wales. The horrific incident was the first attack of its kind in Alaska in 30 years, but some experts worry these encounters might become more common as the Arctic continues to warm.
Climate change has affected where polar bears find their next meals, their next mate, and a place to raise their cubs. What's more, the rise in temperatures has caused sea ice to melt, pushing the animals to spend more time inland, where they could potentially cross paths with humans.
According to researchers, there’s been an increase in appearances of polar bears on land and in coastal areas across the globe, from Alaska to Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean that sits north of the mainland continent.
There have been 73 documented attacks worldwide between 1870 and 2014, with 20 of them resulting in death, according to a 2017 study.
Many remote Arctic communities rely on “polar bear patrols” to look out for the large predators and maintain a large distance from them.
According to the Associated Press, polar bear patrols in Wales had “lapsed” prior to the fatal attack.