Polar Bears Suffering Unexplained Fur Loss

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Scientists in Alaska are seeing polar bears that are suffering from hair loss and skin lesions. This is not the first time this has been reported, in the late 90s the same thing was happening.

9 of 33 bears checked in the southern Beaufort sea region are suffering from alopecia - fur loss. 3 of 4 bears checked near Kaktovic are suffering with the same symptoms, fur loss and skin lesions. Blood and tissue samples were taken from the bears with the symptoms.

U.S. Geological Survey scientists have been going into the area to study polar bears since 1984. They sedate the bears and take samples to monitor the polar bears overall health and well being. In 1998-99, scientist found 10 of 48 bears checked with fur loss and skin lesions. The scientists will continue studying the bears until May, when ice conditions become unstable and ends their ability to travel.

Nothing was ever discovered from the samples taken in 1998-99. There is some concern this year as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, declared an “unusual mortality event” based on a number of ringed seals hauled out on beaches on the Arctic coast of Alaska during the summer. The ringed seals also had hair loss and skin lesions. There is concern that these could be related, but at this time it is not clear if they are or not. From SeattleCBSLocal.com.


ndemiter's picture

horses? i have lots of


i have lots of horses. trail horses, show horses, rodeo horses, you name it.

two of my show horses were corraled with two of my trail horses. the show horses, i was just beginning to break for their perspective rodeo careers, so i keep them with my experienced and strongest animals to help them understand where they fall in the pecking order here.

4 animals in a 30x50 dry lot corral.

the two younger horses began suffering from HAIR LOSS AND SKIN LESIONS!

this was caused by stress. once i seperated my trail horses out, it immediately stopped.


my theory would be that higher survival rates from easier winters have increased populations in places where there is no human encroachment. bears are not very social animals, it might be possible that the stress of overlapping territories and the competition for hunting grounds may be stressing them out.

by our very presance in the arctic, we alter their social situation. we need to test this by removing some bears that could possibly be competeing for territory.