Groundbreaking, if sad

What if there were an oil spill in the Beaufort Sea?

Scientists do know what happens when bears come in contact with oil. Officials with Indian and Northern Affairs exposed three problem bears to oil and published a report on it in 1981.

They were surprised at the intensity of the polar bears’ reaction, Derocher said. The bears immediately started grooming themselves without stopping. Two of the three died. “They ingested so much oil they basically died of kidney failure,” he said.

“Groundbreaking, if sad,” Derocher called it. But, “we would still be speculating if it hadn’t been done.”


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