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Polar bear surprise sends scientists fleeing

Image; This polar bear showed up near a scientists' camp in northern Alaska, forcing the five experts to flee

Five scientists studying shorebirds in northern Alaska had to take flight after a polar bear showed up at a time of year it should have been out on ice floes hunting seals. The New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society said Thursday that it chartered a plane to fly the experts out early "because of a NEW AND UNUSUAL THREAT: a polar bear stuck on land due to climate change." Polar bears would normally be out on sea ice in spring and summer, "but with recent warming the ice is miles from shore and bears are becoming increasingly trapped on land well away from their usual seal prey." The experts were surveying birds feeding on the shorelines north of Teshekpuk Lake on the Beaufort Sea prior to their southward migrations. "The shorelines have experienced dramatic erosion because of the warming climate...Polar bears have been trapped on land in Arctic Alaska all spring and summer unable to swim out to sea ice and pursue seals. Their condition and how dangerous they might be is unknown

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