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Polar Bears Experiencing Skin Lesions and Hair Loss

Polar Bears Experiencing Skin Lesions and Hair Loss

Nine Alaskan polar bears near the southern Beaufort Sea were found with skin lesions and hair loss in the past two weeks, according to the The United States Geological Survey (USGS). It isn’t known what is causing these conditions, but they could be man-made and natural biotoxins, radiation, contaminants, auto-immune diseases, nutritional, hormonal and environmental factors. The same problems were also observed in seals and walruses in the region.

According to a USGS memo,”Evidence of alopecia and other skin lesions may be difficult to see unless the bear can be observed closely. In the polar bears that USGS has observed to date,
the most common areas affected include the muzzle and face, eyes, ears and neck.”

In the southern Beaufort Sea region a USGS survey estimated there were about 1,526 polar bears.
Because of climate change, there is less and less ice available for polar bears in this area. Offshore oil drilling began there in the early 1970s due to the presence of large oil and gas reservoirs.

Polar bears are vulnerable to man-made pollutants due to the fact wind currents carry them there from other places, so they can accumulate in large quantities. Polar bear bones have already been weakened by these pollutants.

US Geologica Survey scientists encouraged anyone who has observed a polar bear in Alaska with the conditions mentioned above to report it to this phone number: 907-786-7034.

Image Credit: USGS

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48 comments

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8:23AM PST on Feb 26, 2013

Sadly noted.

5:29PM PDT on Sep 9, 2012

so sad

7:07AM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

very sad

1:34AM PDT on Aug 9, 2012

Another worrying fact among so many i am sad to say !

11:26PM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

Japan radiation- nuff said.

3:40PM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

Awful, awful humans, look at what you are doing to animals.

3:21PM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

Sadly the health problems with the polar bears is all at the hands of man.

7:35PM PDT on Jun 18, 2012

oh no! find out what is causing it and FIX it.. they are already endangered.

7:10AM PDT on Apr 29, 2012

thanks for sharing

10:19AM PDT on Apr 24, 2012

Since the polar bears have the lesions on their heads and necks I would think this is from something they are eating. They do tend to get their heads into their prey to eat the insides first. I hope the culprit is found.

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