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'Bear'-ing the Blunt of Global Warming
By Joseph Tepper, January 27, 2011 @ 12:55 AM (EST)
Source: BBC: Earth News

Normally -like most reasonably sane people- I loath television advertisements.

However, every so often, a commercial comes along that pulls even at my overtightened heart strings. One such example is a recently released advertisement for an electric car, which features a polar bear traversing land and sea only to give a hug of appreciation to the owner of one vehicle. Surprisingly, new research suggests that this amazing feat might not be so far fetched.

Scientists researching in the Beaufort Sea, north of Alaska, discovered the ability of polar bears to swim continuously for nine days, or over four hundred miles! While polar bears are known for  navigating between floating ice islands, researchers fear that this extreme test endurance ability is the unfortunate result of global warming and melting ice caps. 

Attaching a GPS monitoring device to a female polar bear, members of the US Geological Survey team were able to continuously track the movements of this remarkable animal for the first time. The collar revealed the distance traveled by the bear, as well as the amount of time spent in the frigid waters through data collected by an internal thermometer.

Unfortunately, these extended journeys are not as pleasant for the nomadic polar bear as hybrid car commercials might have us believe- one subject lost 22% of her body fat over the two-month study. This is unfortunate not only because of the impact of global warning on the polar bears in the Beaufort Sea, but also because we all have days when we could use a big 'bear hug.'

You can view the commercial here.

 

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