Polar Bears Going Green

"We're making a statement about this global warming thing"

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Misleading headlines aside, the largest land carnivores aren’t taking steps to reduce their nonexistent carbon footprint: Polar bears are actually turning green. Well, at least they are in Japan.

But the newly mint-colored polar bears got that way because of green practices. Three polar bears at Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in central Japan turned green in July after zoo officials instituted less-frequent water changes in the bear pond to conserve water and energy. This combined with high summer temps resulted in an overgrowth of algae in their swimming pool, which gets stuck in the hollow spaces in polar bear fur.

Though visitors have expressed concern about the bears’ health, the algae is harmless, and the bears are expected to return to their normal coloration after the algae dies off in the fall.

This is by far the boldest move so far by polar bears to retain their position as international mascots of climate change. Man, the pikas are going to be pissed.

— Ted Alvarez

Polar bears turn green after dip in zoo pond (AP)

Trending on Backpacker