The climate crisis is driving bears to town

The climate crisis is driving bears to town

8/18/2021 2:11:00 AM

The climate crisis is driving bears to town

Wildfires, droughts and increasing temperatures are affecting bear behaviour and their ability to forage

“Polar bears are spending more time on land, and the reason that they’re doing that is that there’s less sea ice habitat available to them,” Todd Brinkman, a wildlife biologist and associate professor at the University of Alaska, toldThe Independent.“Usually in September in Alaska is when we see our sea ice minimum ... they’re not feeding on the ice seals, because they’re going to be way off shore with the sea ice and inaccessible – so they have to switch to new land-based food sources, which haven’t been part of their diet over the last several thousands of years.”

'Unmasked, unmuzzled, unvaccinated' mother-of-four dies of COVID Elon Musk mocks Joe Biden, refers to nicknamed Trump coined him with Justin Trudeau wins Canada election, projections say

With more bears on land more of the time comes higher risks of human interactions, which not good for either bears nor people.But in a place like Alaska, where the climate crisis impacts are severe, both bear and human communities are forced into co-existence along the coast.

The Arctic has warmed “three times faster than the world as a whole, leading to rapid and widespread changes in sea ice, land ice (glaciers and ice sheets), permafrost, snow cover and other physical features and characteristics of the Arctic environment,” according to a summary of the Arctic Council’s 2021 Arctic Climate Change Update.

“The other thing that happens in the fall is there’s a whole bunch of communities on the north coast of Alaska that harvest bowhead whale,” Dr Brinkman tellsThe Independent.“So that’s another major attraction to the bears. After they harvest the whale, they tow it to shore, they butcher it and then the carcass remains – and that’s a food source for the bears.”

While polar bears are plagued by declining sea ice and lack of seals to eat, climate-driven conditions across the rest of North America are impacting food sources for other bear populations – and forcing them to venture further afield and into neighborhoods.

“Things like drought, that affects bear foods,” John Hechtel, president of the International Association for Bear Research and Management, tellsThe Independent.“It can affect berry production. It can affect returns of salmon to certain streams ... if the water temperatures get too hot or if there’s not enough water in the stream system to allow adequate salmon. There’s a lot of sort of interconnected relationships between climate, the habitat and potential food sources.”

He adds: “It can be fairly indirect, like warmer temperatures that, in the winter time, allow beetle larvae to expand their range and to attack trees that produce food sources for bears. It can be fires that take out habitats.”Climate and environmental impacts have knock-on effects for years, experts say. Bears can hibernate in dens for up to seven months of the year, and when they emerge, their primary focus is to build up fat reserves for the following winter. Only by maintaining nutrition can they reproduce, survive and thrive.

Unvaccinated Brazil President is forced to eat pizza OUTSIDE in NYC Royals recall Duke of Edinburgh's mustard joke Afghan boys skip school to show solidarity with girls

“Whenever there’s drought and it dries up the berries, you’ve got high mortality among cubs,” Minnesota biologist Dr Lynn Rogers, known as the “Jane Goodall of bears”, toldThe Independent.“And females are unable to maintain their pregnancies, so the effects can last for years after prolonged drought.”

Disasters such as drought and fires have happened throughout history but are increasingly intense, more frequent and unpredictable due to the climate crisis - and will remain so for around the next 30 years, according to the latest UN climate report.Beyond mid-century, these extreme events could become even more dire if humanity doesn’t rapidly reduce planet-heating greenhouse gas emissions.

In northern Minnesota, Dr Rogers studies black bears through the North American Bear Center, which he founded in 1995 - though the 82-year-old has been studying bears for more than half a century.He has observed firsthand an increase in bears coming to town.

“Last year, we had a big drought that dried up the berries, and we got the same thing this year,” he tellsThe Independent. “And I have never seen so many bears coming into local towns and going house to house for tidbits of garbage and birdseed.”He adds: “It used to be believed that, when bears come out of the forest into town, it was simply that they were lazy bears that had become habituated ... and food conditioned. But then from everything I saw, it was mainly just hunger.”

However there may be a flip-side in certain northern communities, he says. Warmer temperatures could possibly expand food sources for bears when deciduous trees and their culinary offerings thrive for longer.That obviously doesn’t apply to locations such as Alaska, and the warmer temperatures may actually be throwing off behaviour that then leads to more problems finding food, Dr Brinkman tells

The Independent.“We’re starting to see more research roll out on brown and black bears,” he says. “So these kinds of studies that are being developed are focused on how you have warmer shoulder seasons, warmer falls, earlier springs. That might mean bears are going into hibernation earlier and coming out sooner.

Texas abortion: Doctor sued in first known challenges of new law Joe Biden presidency: Five huge challenges looming New Zealand police arrest pair trying to enter Auckland with ‘large amount’ of KFC

“I don’t know how strong the data is on this, but people are hypothesising that ... say you have a really unseasonably warm spring, and the bears’ environmental cues suggest it’s time to come out of the den. The snow’s melting, let’s go out and forage.

“Well, they come out, but it’s too early in the spring. A lot of those plants they would be consuming at that time aren’t ready. That could put them in a vulnerable situation. Any time a bear doesn’t have enough food, it might behave differently than it would during a normal food year.”

It is hoped that further research will lead to more suggestions of how to fix bear food shortages – or at least minimise human interactions when they inevitably occur.Dr Rogers described a California drought near Lake Tahoe in 2007 when a few intrepid researchers took matters into their own hands.

“That year, experts told the people, just remove your attractions [like garbage] and the bears will go back in the woods – not realising there was nothing in the woods,” he tellsThe Independent. “Drought had ruined the berry crops and everything.“There was a group there that tried something new to learn something new. They did air drops of food and they backpacked food up into the hills. Where they did that, the problems ended. It was illegal, what they were doing – and so where they didn’t dare do it because they’d get caught, problems continued.”

It’s illegal in the US to feed wildlife such as bears and moose. But the Tahoe group’s idea worked, and solutions will have to be found to similar problems, whether it be in Alaska, California or elsewhere.To some extent, bears foraging for food among humans has always been a feature of modern life in rural communities. It has been fuelled in recent decades by the encroachment of residential communities in formerly wild landscapes that are traditional bear habitats.

The proliferation of social media and CCTV - with bears even inadvertently ringing doorbells - has perhaps made bears popping up on people’s front porches seem more common given the viral value of such clips.But it’s undeniable that the climate crisis is influencing wildlife, and bears are far from immune.

In the meantime, experts urge the usual precautions when it comes to dealing with bears who’ve ventured further from their forest homes. Most of it comes down to people simply avoiding “being really careless with food and garbage,” Mr Hechtel tellsThe Independent

.“Bears take the path of least resistance a lot of the times,” he says. “And all of a sudden, here’s an abundant source of food in people’s garbage cans that they can access, especially if there’s a shortage of some natural food items. Then that can draw them in, which can lead to conflict.

Read more: The Independent »

Energy industry to hold crisis talks with government as supplier Bulb seeks bailout amid gas price hike

Boris Johnson says issues facing energy companies and problems with supply chains are down to 'the global economy coming back to life'.

Humans ‘pushing Earth close to tipping point’, say most in G20Global survey finds 74% also want climate crises and protecting nature prioritised over jobs and profit bydesign something about how the religions believe the world's going to end. so they did things they can't live with and now they're trying to destroy it. Some humans, not all humans. Still, it's time to make radical lifestyle changes. '..say...'

Climate bill will be ruination of NI agriculture, says UFUA wrangle over competing climate laws continues as farmers say one bill will hit their industry. Human will become EXTINCT because of Smoking, Alcohol, Drug, PORN, Masturbation, Premarital Sex & Extramarital Affairs YES..........YES.................YES.............YES.................YES ...........BEFORE THIS CLIMATE CHANGE ISSUE ITSELF.... Human will become EXTINCT because of Smoking, Alcohol, Drug, PORN, Masturbation, Premarital Sex & Extramarital Affairs YES..........YES.................YES.............YES.................YES ...........BEFORE THIS CLIMATE CHANGE ISSUE ITSELF.. Basic Problem ----- Climate Conference happens in fully air-conditioned BIG hall/Room. HOW RIDICULOUS !!!!!! Please GROW-UP. At least all Conferences related to Climate must happen in OPEN field....School/College/University or any other ground.....just natural air.....

UK politicians decry Joe Biden’s defence of Afghanistan pulloutSenior Tory and Labour MPs united in their criticism of US president’s approach to Afghan crisis UK politicians 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 The US abandoned Afghanistan after 20 years of brutal and barbaric occupation. The Taliban came back with little resistance because of US betrayal of Afghan people. JFC, what didn't they like him telling the truth. All these politicians world wide acting like Americans should just keep funding the corrupt government and airbombing civilians. Yeah no. I can't with nonsense.

Nando's forced to shut restaurants and stop Deliveroo orders amid shortages'We are experiencing sporadic disruption from the industry-wide shortage of HGV drivers and an increase in colleagues self-isolating on a precautionary basis’ Promo_man I'm determined to get you to agree with me!! 🤣😉 I ate at a Nando’s once and it was fucking awful. NandosUK Pish it’s all down to GREAT BRITISH BREXIT

BBC Radio 4 - Woman's Hour, Clothes sizing, Afghan women, What's driving men who define themselves as incels?Why is it so hard for women who wear larger bra sizes to find clothes that fit? edaeinoconnell and Katbrownbridge discuss why when it comes to sizing, high street shops often fail to measure up to expectations 👗👖👚 saraheverts I for one don't like my armpits to stink. But I use a deodorant and not an antiperspirant edaeinoconnell Katbrownbridge Honestly, learning to make my own clothes has been a godsend. I have clothes that finally fit me! edaeinoconnell Katbrownbridge Look at female fashion models in mainstream media campaigns and you won't find many larger breasted women among them . We are not the 'idealised' female so we don't exist and don't need to be catered for in the retail sector.

Britney Spears explains why she keeps posting nearly-nude selfiesBritney Spears explains empowering reason why she keeps posting nude selfies on Instagram