This 16-year-old male polar bear died of starvation resulting from the lack of ice on which to hunt seals, according to Dr Ian Stirling, who has studied polar bears for almost 40 years with the Canadian Wildlife Service and the University of Alberta.
Dr Ian Stirling, now at Polar Bears International, said the bear had been in apparently good health when it was examined by scientists in April in southern Svalbard. It was found dead three months later in northern Svalbard, far from its normal range. Stirling said most of the fjords in Svalbard did not freeze normally last winter, driving the bear further afield in the hunt for food. From his lying position in death, Stirling said, the bear appears to simply have starved and died where he dropped, having been reduced to little more than skin and bone. Arctic sea ice fell to its lowest recorded level in 2012, which scientists say is due to global warming.