Polar Bear Spray-Painted With Odd Marks Leaves Wildlife Experts Baffled

By Dave Basner

December 4, 2019

Polar bears are already endangered with climate change causing a melting of the polar ice caps, but that's not the only peril they are facing. It seems someone is now spray-painting the beautiful creatures. Sergey Kavry, a member of nature organization the World Wildlife Fund, shared video of a marked up bear on Facebook. It shows Russian men spotting a polar bear they think is just dirty, but then they realize he has "T-34" spray-painted on it's side in black.

Karvy said the video came to him from indigenous people in Russia's Far East, but he doesn't know exactly where the footage was originally shot.

"T-34" might reference Russia's T-34 tank, which was used heavily in their defeat of the Nazis in World War Two. Kavry, who insists no scientist would ever brand a bear like that, said, "If it's a military lettering theme... there is some kind of perverse disrespect for history."

The BBC reached out to an animal expert who suspected the bear had to be tranquilized when it was tagged, explaining, "The characters are evenly written and all the same size," something that would never happen if the bear was moving. He also suggested it could've happened in the Novaya Zemlya region, where specialists recently sedated polar bears that wandered into populated areas. In fact, the Russian media thinks the stunt could stem from local anger at the rise in polar bears coming into their communities.

The concern now is that the markings could harm the bear by giving away its location to its prey. Since the animal relies on its white coat for camouflage in the ice and snow, the black might make that difficult and the bear will struggle to find food.

Experts are trying to figure out where the video was shot.

Photo: Getty Images

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