This is an amazing feat of endurance, but incredibly heart wrenching and sad at the same time.
A polar bear that scientists were tracking swam continuously for nine days for 426 miles in search of food!
Scientists studying bears around the Beaufort Sea, north of Alaska and Canada, witnessed the epic journey after fitting the animal with a tracking collar after its initial capture in August 2008, then a recapture in 2008.
Research zoologist George M. Durner shared his amazement with the creatures determination to survive, saying:
"This bear swam continuously for 232 hours and 687 km and through waters that were 2-6 degrees C. We are in awe that an animal that spends most of its time on the surface of sea ice could swim constantly for so long in water so cold. It is truly an amazing feat."
While amazing, scientists fear this act of endurance could be a result of climate change sea ice melts which push polar bears to swim greater distances, risking their own health and the survival of the species.
Imagine having to swim that far for food!
But here is the truly sad part. The female polar bear who made the epic journey lost more than a few calories along the way. She lost her yearling cub.
Durner said of her loss:
"It was simply more energetically costly for the yearling than the adult to make this long distance swim."
The polar bears dependency on rapidly disappearing ice in the arctic makes them one of the most at-risk large mammals due to climate change.
[Image via AP Images.]
Tags: alaska, amazing, canada, mammals, sad, species, swim, zoologist