Jul
09
2007

Punked: Problem grizzlies in Alaska are getting dyed

Rainbow coalition: Alaskan wildlife officials are using cheap hair dyes to color the fur of problem bears. Doing that, they think, will save many bears from being immediately killed from having negative interactions with humans. (Graphic from the Anchorage Daily News)
Rainbow coalition: Alaskan wildlife officials are using cheap hair dyes to color the fur of problem bears. Doing that, they think, will save many bears from being immediately killed from having negative interactions with humans. (Graphic from the Anchorage Daily News)
When you’ve seen one grizzly bear, you’ve seen them all, right?

Not in Alaska. Grizzlies that have become nuisance bears – repeatedly having negative interactions with the human populations up in the 49th state – are getting a drastic, punk makeover.

Wildlife officials are dousing the problem bears with brightly colored hair dyes, giving humans coming in their way a quick sign that these bears have caused trouble in the past. This summer, you might just see a grizzly in Alaska decked out in yellow, green, orange or blue fur.

Okay all you self-righteous animal activists. Before you hit the reply button to submit your protest to this idea, take a second to read the reasoning behind all of this.

In the past, problem bears were shot dead. No second chances. Just get them out of the picture.

The fur dying idea is a way to avoid that drastic measure. Now people will have a quick, dramatic visual clue that they are in the vicinity of a problem bear and can use that information to decide how they want to proceed with interactions with the creature.

Game officials will actually tranquilize the problem bears, shampoo their head, shoulders and hind quarters before applying the dye.

Over the past several summers, many grizzlies have been shot by game officials or by private citizens who felt threatened by the bears’ behavior. But will a funky new fur color have impacts on the bears’ interactions with other members of their own species? No one is sure about that.

What do you think about coloring bears’ fur for these purposes? Share your thoughts here with other Science Buzz readers.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

craig's picture
craig says:

hahahahaha ok if i see one coming ill find my sid vishious collection and put it on perhaps if i show the hairy bugger my tatoos hell adopt me as one of his punk buds :)

posted on Mon, 07/09/2007 - 9:19pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

this is really cool

posted on Tue, 09/18/2007 - 9:28am

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