Brown bears turn white on remote Russian islands
Blondes have more fun! Brown bears turn white on the remote Russian archipelago and are much more relaxed than their dark-haired relatives
- One in 10 brown bears on the distant Kunashir island is now colored white
- Scientists believe that inbreeding in the disputed Kuril chain is the likely explanation
- Experts say the bears are also & # 39; less aggressive & # 39; are then their brown-haired friends
These photos show how brown bears turn white on a remote Russian archipelago.
No less than one in 10 brown bears on the distant Kunashir island is white or silver colored and the number seems to be increasing.
Far south of the Arctic, these cannot be polar bears, but even experts say they have had to look twice to make sure.
Scientists believe that inbreeding among bears on Kunashir and other islands in the Kuril chain, which is disputed with Japan, is the likely cause.
Turn white: a snow-colored bear in the Kurilsky nature reserve in a remote island chain in Russia, where no fewer than one in 10 predators now appears white or silver
In the elevator: Experts say that the number of white-colored brown bears (like this one, depicted in a nature reserve) in the isolated island chain seems to be increasing
Brown and white: one of the white bears rubs his face against a brown colored counterpart in the island chain that is disputed with Japan
The predators on the archipelago are isolated from the rest of the Russian bear population.
Experts say the bears are also & # 39; less aggressive & # 39; are then their brown-colored counterparts.
Russian natural officer Artur Murzahanov said the bears have no natural predators, so the unusually colored beasts are not attacked.
& # 39; The Kuril bears stand out, & # 39; he said. & # 39; About 10 percent of the bears have a silver jacket and they live freely. & # 39;
Arctic expert Viktor Nikiforov, who has researched the species in a nature reserve on Kunashir, said: & # 39; The brown bears are beginning to resemble polar bears in color – due to inbreeding.
Camouflage: a white-colored bear adjusts to the rocks while clambering over stones with a dark-haired comrade. Experts believe that the bears are also less aggressive
Only: the predators on the archipelago are isolated from the rest of the Russian bear population
Mixture: scientists believe that inbreeding among bears on Kunashir and other islands in the Kuril chain, which is disputed with Japan, is the likely cause
& # 39; Kunashir is a relatively small island for brown bears – no new bears are coming. & # 39;
Emeritus professor Noriyuki Ohtaishi of Hokkaido University in Japan has also suggested that the color change is probably the result of isolation and mutation.
Igor Bobyr, a state inspector in the reserve, said mainland Russia researchers concluded that the & # 39; white bears & # 39; & # 39; much less aggressive & # 39; than other populations of the animals.
The islands have been in Russian hands since World War II, but Japan continues to claim them.
However, Moscow claims that the archipelago is part of Russian territory.
Polar bears only occur in the Arctic and it is very unlikely that they will reach the islands in the southernmost Russia.
Peaceful: mainland Russia researchers have found that the white-colored bears & # 39; much less aggressive & # 39; than other populations of the animals
Unusual: Far south of the Arctic, these cannot be polar bears, but even experts say they have had to watch twice to make sure
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