USGS issues announcement about polar bears with oozing sores, hair loss in Alaska — Gov’t testing for radiation — 3 of 4 captured yesterday affected — Similar symptoms as recent mystery seal deaths (PHOTO & AUDIO)

Saturday, April 7, 2012
By Paul Martin

By ENENews
April 7th, 2012

Title: Polar Bears Show Signs of Mysterious Illness
Source: Alaska Public Radio
Author: Annie Feidt
Date: April 6, 2012

Transcript Excerpts

Biologists have found Polar Bears in the Beaufort Sea with hair loss and skin lesions. Those are the same symptoms that have sickened ice seals and walruses in the arctic since last summer and led the federal government to declare the incident an unusual mortality event. Scientists are just beginning an investigation into whether polar bears are suffering from the same thing. [...]

So far, the field scientists have found hair loss on nine of the 33 bears they’ve captured. The bears have skin lesions on their head, neck and ears. [...]

Dozens of seals have died from the disease, but no walrus deaths are attributed to it. Scientists don’t know yet if the walrus and seals are suffering from the same thing. Although the veterinary pathologist who has done most of the necropsies on the animals say the lesions look very similar under the microscope. [...]

Tony Degange, with USGS

“The first day we observed it was on March 21st and we had three captures and two of them had Alopecia, which is the skin loss and so it was like, ‘oh that’s interesting.’ Then we started picking it up on other animals in later March so it was like, this is more than normal.”

“The bears appear to be healthy otherwise. We haven’t seen any dead bears, so its not a mortality event as far as we know. But the fact that its occurring at the same time as this unexplained mortality event with seals certainly raises the interest level.”

Out of four polar bears biologists captured yesterday, three had skin lesions and hair loss

The Rest…HERE

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