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!
Photo credit: iStockphoto
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