2005-01-17

Polar bears in Antarctica?

OK, leaving aside the seriousness for a moment, here's a fun question prompted by Eric Swanson from sci.env: the ">" is him, the reply is from me:


>Well, there is always adaption.
>"We" could always move the polar bears to Antarctica, where they would have
>lots of land to roam around without bumping into civilization and move the
>penguins to the Arctic Ocean, where the declining sea-ice might be a better
>home(??) for them than the oceans around the Antarctic.

Its an interesting point... purely as a though experiment, I suspect it
wouldn't work, though I'm not sure. Don't polar bears retreat equatorwards
in the wintertime? For most of Antarctica, you can't do that, since you'd
fall into the sea.


So... anyone know? Could polar bears survive in Antarctica, especially over winter?

12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One problem would be a major seaonal shift. Like jet lag, only it would be six months instead of six hours.

1:56 am  
Blogger Belette said...

A jet lagged polar bear would be scary...

However, after talking to some people at work, it now seems likely that they would survive, at least around the Peninsula area. I am told they PBs actually move onto the sea ice in winter, to get seals, so as long as they were OK on the rather thinner Antarctic ice (it tens to be less than 1m thick, as opposed to 3+ for the Arctic). OTOH people don't necessarily know where the seals go in winter...

9:29 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

u know u should leave polar bears 2 liv ok

3:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think they should consider testing this with tagged set of bears moved to antarctic peninsula, not sure if food source would be ok, I have been involved in climate change research and a tipping point might be reached in 20 years.

3:40 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

are you kidding me? Food source? Hell, they'll eat the penguins until there aren't any left.

Polar bears could live in the antarctic, but in the long run it probably wouldn't be a good idea sending them there. And sending penguins to the arctic would be like sending them to their deaths. Since there are wolves, foxes, etc. in the arctic.

3:53 pm  
Anonymous Audrey said...

Polar bear females need to build dens in the winter to hibernate and birth their young. Antarctic is too solid to burrow so no I don't think it would work. Plus if you move the penguins north there would be too many land mammals to eat them and they would die off. In antarctica the threat is from the sea so they are mostly safe on land. So keep them seperate; keep them safe.

11:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are islands in Southern Argentina and Chile where Polar bears would probably do just fine. There would be similar weather, snow, ice, open water and prey. There are no people for hundreds of miles. It is a very dynamic marine ecocosm which could probably absorb polar bears with out the bears disrupting it. Someone should contact Argentina and Chile and ask them about it.

2:03 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i thought they do live in antarctica though. if not, where do you think that they live????? comment back.

4:25 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eff the penguins. If this is what we need to do to save the polar bears then we should do it. Actually, I think we should do it regardless since a devious ecological science experiment of this magnitude has never before been attempted.

And to answer the previous jackass's question, polar bears live in the arctic and not in the antarctic.

Sincerely,
Your local ecological mad scientist

9:46 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love POLOR BEARS I do not want them to be extict(they are endangered).:)

1:12 am  
Anonymous kristen said...

we should stop littering,because of globle warming the polor bears are endangered!!:(

1:15 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Penquins do not live in the North Pole. Polar Bears do not live in the South Pole. There is a reason for this: Polar bears would eat up and kill off the Penguins who live there. Thus the polar bears would survive but the penguins would become extict! LEAVE MOTHER NATURE ALONE!

4:17 am  

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