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Wild Bears Addicted to Sniffing Aviation Fuel

Wild Bears Addicted to Sniffing Aviation Fuel

Dozens of brown bears living in Russia’s Kronotsky Nature Preserve have discovered aviation fuel and haven’t stopped sniffing since.

The bears found fuel containers left on the ground, sniffed kerosene and gasoline, and the rest is history. Now they are getting greedy: some of them will go right up to helicopters, hoping that when they take off they will leave drops of fuel behind.

A female bear named Suzemka scored an entire barrel of fuel and was seen rolling it along the ground, whispering “my precioussss…” Well, maybe she wasn’t whispering, but she had definitely hit paydirt.

Being bears, these delinquents make even huffing look cute. “They take deep breaths for minutes at a time before digging a shallow hole and lying in a ‘nirvana’ position,” flat on their backs, paws splayed, tummy exposed.

There are more than 700 bears in the preserve, but only a few dozen have strayed from the path of the righteous. It may be that most bears don’t care for sniffing fuel, but I think the real reason they haven’t all become addicts is that the druggie bears are hoarding their stash and not letting the others try it.

Information about the effects on bears of sniffing fuel is hard to come by, but considering that they go at it until they pass out, it can’t be a healthy lifestyle choice.

There is no word on whether or how the Kronotsky Nature Preserve plans to address the problem. Workers try to remove the barrels, but the preserve is very large — 225,000 hectares – and they can’t cover every square foot.

Also, removing barrels while addicted bears are nearby is a risky proposition, since the preserve’s brown bears can be as heavy as 1,200 pounds, making them the largest brown bears in the world.

If it is possible, do you think the drug-sniffing bears should be forced into rehab? Or should we let them enjoy their new pastime? Take the poll below and leave a comment!

 

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Photo credit: iStockphoto

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164 comments

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5:55AM PST on Dec 5, 2013

We humans are the destroyers of this planet. Would wish every country would spend or would force companies/miners etc to clean up the mess everywhere…Not one polluted site left behind!
So sad story, not really enjoyed the question posed, should we leave the bears to enjoy their addiction??? No! I knew I boy in my neighbourhood who sniffed his brain away….he died young.

9:10AM PDT on May 4, 2013

very sad news but thanks for sharing

5:22PM PDT on Apr 8, 2013

How very sad! :(

8:06AM PDT on Mar 31, 2013

Sad!!

12:07PM PDT on Mar 29, 2013

Obviously the fuel needs to be moved away from the bear preserve or secured in a locked building that is bear proofed. Bears need more natural environments with less human intrusion.

10:26PM PDT on Mar 27, 2013

That is insane.....that cannot be healthy for them. Remove the barrels ASAP.

4:13PM PDT on Mar 27, 2013

Appalling

10:13AM PDT on Mar 27, 2013

Of course this shouldn't be encouraged. It's harmful to the bears.

10:02AM PDT on Mar 27, 2013

I find it all so strange...I wouldn't hop up a helicopter that's either leaking fuel or beeing literally chased by bears...so I don't believe that part of the story,in the first place.Secondly,if there are so many bears there that they got a chance of messing with fuel barrels,maybe that should have been reported to the UN or Interpol,or whatever.There are many ways to keep the safety of an airport,or an army base...and what the hell is that fuel doing in Russia’s Kronotsky Nature Preserve??? I think it sounds like someone has been sniffing fuel before writing articles.

9:25AM PDT on Mar 27, 2013

sad!

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