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   Undertoad  Sunday Aug 25 12:58 PM

8/25/2002: White black bear



Since yesterday featured Alaska, I figured today could as well. This is an Alaskan black bear.

Wha...?

Yes: occasionally black bears sport different colors. It's very rare, though, for one to be so white. The photographer who found this one named it "Spirit Bear", kept its location a secret, and lobbied successfully for a temporary ban on hunting it or any other white-looking bears in the Juneau area. He says it's a one-in-a-million bear.

The local gov't is going to take up the idea of a permanent ban in November. More details at the site in the watermark label on the image.



elSicomoro  Sunday Aug 25 01:04 PM

To extrapolate on UT's info:

"In eastern North America, the Black Bear is almost completely black and in the West it can range from black to a shiny golden cinnamon, with a white blaze on its chest. Although normally black, it is quite common to see brown, gray, or pale beige bears. In the northwestern region there are even individuals that are almost white."

From here

Which leads me to ask the question, "Why call them 'black' bears, then?"



juju  Sunday Aug 25 06:30 PM

Why do people think it's our job to control natural selection? Even scientists hold this opinion, and I really don't understand it.

Environments change all the time, and those animals which are best adapted to their environment are the ones who live and multiply. It's a very simple concept. But somehow it's been perverted into "save the weak from extinction". I'm not saying white bears are weak, mind you. But this is the case in countless other situations.

WTF?



ndetroit  Monday Aug 26 12:52 PM

It become our *responsibility* to assist animals/plants/whatever that may be in danger of extinction as soon as we began the process of unnatural selection... That is to say, human beings have disrupted the worlds ecosystems to the point where some of them may be unrecoverable. It's our job not to subvert natural selection, but to preserve as much of the natural order as we possibly can...

Environments change all the time, but not at the rate that they are now.. Natural selection can't keep up with changes humanity is bringing to the environment...

Let the strong survive then, and the let the chips fall where they may? ....

sure.... ... but once one small part of the ecosphere breaks down, and something can't step in and replace that part, then humans are gonna be pretty much hosed....


Bears are omnivores, and basically at the top of their food chain. This white coloring is likely not a disadvantage in natural settings.. Bears eat plants and fish, both of which are not caught with more difficulty by a white bear over a black one..


But if you want to keep looking at it as a "save the weak from extinction", then think of it this way: This bear likely has a few dormant strands of DNA that were previously recessed.... Perhaps his childrens galbladders will be the next colon-cancer cure... And then when I get colon-cancer, he can save MY weak ass from extinction...

But perhaps not...

The fact that he is different should be reason enough to do whatever we can to preserve him though....



juju  Monday Aug 26 04:23 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by ndetroit
It become our *responsibility* to assist animals/plants/whatever that may be in danger of extinction as soon as we began the process of unnatural selection... That is to say, human beings have disrupted the worlds ecosystems to the point where some of them may be unrecoverable. It's our job not to subvert natural selection, but to preserve as much of the natural order as we possibly can...

This "unnatural selection", as you call it, does not exist. Humans are <i>a part</i> of nature, not <i>apart</i> from it. Why is it that you think humans are somehow tainted and evil? We're animals, a part of the ecosystem just like everybody else.


We are a crucial part of the current environment. If animals can not adapt to deal with us, then they will die off. Then, animals that can work best in our current environment will evolve. Granted, it's a slow process. But history shows that it always happens. Keeping a poorly adapted species alive so that it can consume resources that would be better used by a more adapted species is just silly. If animals were software, it would be illegal to delete Windows 3.11 from your system. For christ's sake, it's endangered! I know that's a silly example, but I don't think you realize that upgrades are going to occur. It's just that you probably won't be alive when they do.


Quote:
Originally posted by ndetroit
Environments change all the time, but not at the rate that they are now.. Natural selection can't keep up with changes humanity is bringing to the environment...
Humans have only been here for 130,000 years, and it's only been about 300 years since the Industrial Revolution. Natural selection takes millions of years before even the tiniest change would even be noticed. So, I don't really think you can make that claim. In fact, i think the opposite is true.


Quote:
Originally posted by ndetroit
Let the strong survive then, and the let the chips fall where they may? ....

sure.... ... but once one small part of the ecosphere breaks down, and something can't step in and replace that part, then humans are gonna be pretty much hosed....
New species will evolve. How do you think we got here? The dinosaurs were wiped from the face of the earth. Not too long after, there was an explosion of all kinds of exotic mammal species. That was nearly the biggest disaster in the history of the planet, but life found a way. In fact, it sprung back in a huge way. If there are resources available, a new species will evolve to exploit them.


Quote:
Originally posted by ndetroit
But if you want to keep looking at it as a "save the weak from extinction", then think of it this way: This bear likely has a few dormant strands of DNA that were previously recessed.... Perhaps his childrens galbladders will be the next colon-cancer cure... And then when I get colon-cancer, he can save MY weak ass from extinction...
Ok, now that's stretching it, I think.

I'm not saying that saving weak species from extinction is morally wrong. Just a waste of time. If the species is poorly adapted, then it's going to die off eventually no matter what you do. So you're probably just delaying the inevitable.

Anyway, that's my opinion. I know i'm in the minority. That's why I felt like expressing it.


xoxolovexoxo  Tuesday May 24 07:05 PM

We can't really go against what natural selection has in store for us, but we can make sure we are not affecting this process. We pollute the air, and take away habitats from animals. Is that fair?

We were given the gifts of telling right from wrong--that is how we evoloved. But just because we have those priveliges, does that mean we can take it away from endangered species? Since we seem to be the most versatile creature on this earth, we need to use our abilities to help the earth, not hurt it!!!!

If another species had the power to save us from extinction, would you want them to do it? Or would you want society to become slowely wiped off the face of the earth?

When we look down on the endangered blah blah, and say "we are better than this little animal, and if it can't live, why should it?" is that what we would like to have done to us? I don't think so!

Empathy is not a word alot of us really understand, clearly...



xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday May 25 03:37 AM

Isn't natural selection a reaction to what just happened? Well, we happened and we happened big, so we will affect the process even if we don't know exactly where or how. Man is part of natural selection.

And welcome to the Cellar.



Lady Sidhe  Wednesday May 25 12:55 PM

Detroit and Love, I'm right there with you. Very good points made by you both.

Humans hate the idea that they may not be at the top of the food chain, and anything that threatens us, whether in self-defense or not, is destroyed almost as an afterthought.

For example, if a guy goes out to hunt bears, but the bear gets the drop on him, it immedietely becomes a target because it's "dangerous," and a group of men go out there to kill it to protect other "innocent" hunters from being harmed by that vicious creature. No one stops to think that the bear community might be holding little bear-meetings and saying, "dooood...there's this dangerous hominid running around killing people. We need to send out a hunting party and get rid of him so he won't kill anyone else."

Yup, we don't like the idea that we may not be number one.

One day we're going to exterminate something really, reeeeeeally important, and the whole ecosystem is going to go to shit. Then we're screwed. It's all interconnected, whether we know HOW it's interconnected or not. Just because something seems insignificant in the scheme of things, to US, doesn't mean it is.


Check out a book called Dust. It's fiction, but it's written by an authority on ecology, and tells what could happen should one little "insignificant" critter die out. It's an interesting read, and at the end, he gives a lot of scientific information about what's in the book, and how easily it could become a reality.

Yeah, I know everyone thinks I'm a tree-huggin' hippie, but I prefer to think of myself as merely practical.


Sidhe



johningerslev  Wednesday May 25 06:51 PM

<quote>"Yeah, I know everyone thinks I'm a tree-huggin' hippie (...) Sidhe"<quote>

naa i think that makes a lot of sense - people don't respect nature as they should. they are too concerned with themselfs.



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