Bear Bears the Brunt of Global Warming

| Fri Jan. 5, 2007 6:34 PM EST

Most times, homeowners get scared and trigger-happy when a bear shows up on their porch. But not so with this befuddled bruin, which instead solicited sympathy from residents. blackbear.jpgThe bear--a mere 25-lb, orphan black bear cub--missed hibernation in October, and is instead scrounging for dog food, dead birds, anything it can find in Anchorage back yards.

Why is this "little guy" out and about, when he should be curled up into a ball of snoozing fuzz? It's possible that the cub didn't hibernate because he didn't have a mother to guide him, or because it was just too darn warm. It's not just polar bears whose habitats are being turned upside down by global warming. Now, the clime's climbing times may be disrupting bears' biological clocks, which rely on a combination of cold temperatures and scarce food to send them to their lairs. Says, the Alaska Zoo website "Bears will often wake up if disturbed or if temperatures become suddenly warmer. In some temperate areas where food remains available, bears may not even hibernate."

But naturalists are not giving up yet: this black bear cub will be taken to a more remote part of the state and introduced to a small, straw-lined shelter in hopes he will settle down for the ever-warmer winter.

—Jen Phillips