2006 Photo Contest, Nature, 2nd prize

Pål Hermansen

Orion Forlag / Getty Images

01 September, 2005

A polar bear eats a seal on an ice flow near the Monaco glacier. Polar bears feed primarily on seals, in the summer months hunting those basking on ice flows as they depend on a frozen platform from which to tackle their prey. In the summer of 2005 there was very little ice in the area north of Svalbard and the bears congregated in areas where glaciers reached open water. Polar bears are a potentially threatened species. They have been protected by severe restrictions on hunting throughout the Arctic since 1973 and the population in Svalbard has grown from a low of 1,000 to around 3,000. However, scientists are now worried about the effects of pollution and global warming on the animals' feeding patterns.

About the photographer

Pål Hermansen

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