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Polar bears' diet consists almost exclusively of ringed seals, so they must hunt on sea ice to find enough food, notes Dr. Steven Amstrup, the chief scientist at Polar Bears International.The Polar Bear | Terrestrial Foraging
"We have no evidence that they can forage successfully in open water or on land," he said
Feeding Habits based on Age and Gender
Terrestrial diet of summer bears includes: berries, seaweed, grass, carrion, eggs, sedges, rodents, birds, other vegetation and food wastes (Practical Dictionary of Siberia and the North, 2005). However there have been documented cases of polar bears hunting caribou and readily hunting birds (Derocher, Stirling and Andriashek, 1993.
Feeding on berries in adult females can be linked to the required energy stores needed for successful reproduction (Derocher, Stirling and Andriashek, 1993, p. 252) and survival of the newborn cubs (Derocher, Lunn and Stirling, 2004, p. 165; Derocher, Stirling and Andriashek, 1993, p. 253).
Similarly, summer scavenging of reindeer carcasses in Svalbard by females with cubs may be a crucial aspect of cub survival in the family’s first spring (Derocher, Wiig and Bangjord, 2000, p. 677).