New Bear on the Block: Grizzlies Spotted in Black and Polar Bear Habitats
For the first time, scientists have observed three American bear species—the black bear, polar bear and grizzly bear—using the same habitat in Canada's Wapusk National Park.
"Scientifically, it has never been documented anywhere," Doug Clark of the University of Saskatchewan told the Canadian Press.
Using remote cameras, Clark and his research team documented 401 bear-visits of all three species (366 from polar bears, 25 from black bears and 10 from grizzlies) at three camps in the national park from 2011–2017. The findings were published this week in the journal Arctic Science.
We found grizzly, black and polar bears together for the first time: "This particular story of the three bears isn’… https://t.co/K6CWiB0tnq— Nunatsiaq News (@Nunatsiaq News)1542916354.0
The presence of polar and black bears was not unusual. After all, Wapusk National Park is home to one of the world's largest maternity denning areas for polar bears. The park also lies north of a forested region, where black bears call home.
It was the number of grizzly visits that was the biggest surprise.
"These observations add to a growing body of evidence that grizzlies are undergoing a substantial range increase in northern Canada and the timing of our observations suggests denning locally," the authors wrote.
Clark delved deeper into the study in an essay for The Conversation:
Three dynamic ecosystems—forest, tundra and ocean—converge at Wapusk, and all are changing quickly as the Arctic warms.
What we've seen in Wapusk is consistent with how researchers expect northern carnivore populations to respond to climate change.
The study adds more evidence that grizzly bears are showing up in places where they are not usually found. Other scientists have suggested that increased sightings of so-called "pizzly" or "grolar" bears—or grizzly-polar hybrids—are the result of grizzly bears in Alaska and Canada expanding north due to the warming environment, thus bringing them in contact with polar bears.
"The combination of warmer temperatures and vegetation growth means there is more overlap between the species and I'd expect that overlap to increase," Chris Servheen, a grizzly bear expert at the University of Montana, told the Guardian in 2016.
It is not currently clear if the three bear species are interacting with each other, or what effect their combined presence has on the larger environment.
"How they interact is a really big question," Clark told the Canadian Press. "There's all kinds of things that could go on."
Sighting of Sperm Whales in Arctic Waters 'Really Shocking' https://t.co/xEW4KHZOol #ClimateChange #globalwarming… https://t.co/PO9RE8yCED— Sea Shepherd SSCS (@Sea Shepherd SSCS)1541540942.0
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Four years ago, Jacob Abel cast his first presidential vote for Donald Trump. As a young conservative from Concord, North Carolina, the choice felt natural.
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Fractures Among Young Climate Conservatives<p>While young conservatives have united around the urgency of climate change, they remain divided over how to bring their concerns to the ballot box. Some embrace right-wing <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-attacks-republican-convention/2020/08/24/434e5b46-e66d-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html" target="_blank">attacks</a> painting Biden as a "tool of the left" and find his climate agenda "radical." Others can't find a way to justify voting for Trump, even if it means breaking with their party.</p><p>Patrick Mann from Orange County, California, voted for Trump in 2016. But today, he's leading Aggies for Joe at Texas A&M University and is co-founder of Texas Students for Biden. </p><p>Mann grew up watching wildfires ravage his home state, nearly forcing his family to evacuate in 2017. The GOP is failing to "meet the moment" for climate action, Mann said. He's hoping Biden will deliver on a promise to "<a href="https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/caucus/2020/01/06/joe-biden-democrat-president-iowa-caucus-restore-soul-our-nation/2806422001/" target="_blank">restore the soul of our nation</a>." </p><p>Taylor Walker from Pensacola, Florida, is also determined to make her voice heard on climate, including by casting her first-ever vote for president—but not for Biden.</p>
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