Norway polar bear puts dolphin in the freezer

Polar bears on Svalbard have for the first time been observed catching and eating dolphins and then freezing the leftovers in a pile of snow for later consumption.

Norway polar bear puts dolphin in the freezer
A polar bear carcass being filmed fo a BBC documentary. Photo: Magnus Andersen / Norwegian Polar Institute
Researchers from the Norwegian Polar Institute recorded the behaviour after large numbers of white-beaked dolphins became trapped under the ice sheet, surfacing for air at a small opening where they became easy prey for polar bears. 
At least seven dolphin carcasses had been partially eaten by the bears. 
In their report, the scientists report that one of the bears, who they described as “very skinny” but with a full belly,  was seen covering a dolphin carcass with snow, after eating as much of the animal as it was able. 
Dolphins usually don’t travel to Svalbard in the early spring and may have been lured there because of higher-than-normal sea temperatures due to global warming. 
Polar bears normally survive almost exclusively on a diet of seal and have never before been observed eating dolphin. 
The polar bear population is rapidly declining as sea ice melts due to climate change. When there is less ice, there is less available food leaving polar bears vulnerable to starve.
Ian Stirling of the University of Alberta in Canada believes that incidents where polar bears find unusual prey will increase as hunting for seal becomes more difficult.
Polar bears are “willing to take and use anything possible when available”, he told the New Scientist

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Norway digitally freezes national treasures and stores them in Arctic archive

Norway’s National Museum has preserved some of the country’s most treasured artefacts digitally and stored them in a former mine on Arctic archipelago Svalbard.

Norway digitally freezes national treasures and stores them in Arctic archive
Photo: Bartek Luks on Unsplash

The Arctic World Archive was originally constructed in 2017 to “protect the world’s most important cultural relics”, the National Museum said on its website.

The data preservation facility is located on the island of Spitsbergen, part of the Svalbard archipelago, not far from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

The National Museum has now placed its entire collection of around 400,000 items as digital copies on plastic film rolls, which are to be stored at the Longyearbyen site.

“The dry, cold and low-oxygen air gives optimal conditions for storing digital archives and the film rolls will have a lifetime of around 1,000 years in the archive,” the museum writes. Emissions emitted by the archive are low due to its low energy consumption.

Offline storage of the archives also insures them against cyber attacks, the museum said.

In addition to all data from the National Museum collection database, high-resolution digital images of works by selected artists are included in the archive.

Works to be stored include ‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch, ‘Winter Night in the Mountains’ by Harald Sohlberg, the Baldishol Tapestry and Queen Maud’s ball dress.

“At the National Museum we have works from antiquity until today. We work with the same perspective on the future. The collection is not only ours, but also belongs to the generations after us,” National Museum director Karin Hindsbo said via the museum’s website.

“By storing a copy of the entire collection in the Arctic World Archive, we are making sure the art will be safe for many centuries,” Hindsbo added.

In addition to the Norwegian artefacts, organisations from 15 other countries are represented in the archive, including national museums in Mexico, Brazil and India; the Vatican library, Sweden’s Moderna Museet and Unicef.

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