Sunday, September 3, 2017

Given a Choice, Grizzly Bears Prefer Dessert Before the Fish Course

And who is going to tell them not too? A scientist, of course.

Grizzly bears go vegetarian due to climate change weather, choosing berries over salmon
Grizzly bears have stopped eating salmon in favour of elderberries after being forced to make a choice due to climate change. Warming temperatures meant that the berries are ripening earlier than usual, at exactly the same time as the freshwater streams on Alaska’s Kodiak Island are overflowing with sockeye salmon.

The island’s brown bears typically feed first on salmon in early summer, followed by elderberries later in the season, in late August and September.

“What you have is a scrambling of the schedule,” said William Deacy, a biologist at Oregon State University that studied the phenomenon.

“It’s essentially like if breakfast and lunch were served at same time and then there is nothing to eat until dinner.

“You have to choose between breakfast and lunch because you can only eat so much at a time.”

The study found that during the unusually warm summer of 2014, the bears, which would traditionally kill up to 75 percent of the salmon, were nowhere to be seen near the streams.
Probably good news for the fishermen. Those bears would make me nervous.

Instead, they were in the hills busy munching on berries, which contain less protein and therefore take less energy to break down, causing them to gain weight more quickly.

Biologists warned that changes caused by a warming planet were behind the bears‘ unusual behavior and could affect the entire ecosystem.
The ultimate threat; "affect the entire ecosystem." Everything affects the entire ecosystem. Every departure from what they determined to be the norm based on our few years of observation is presumed to be bad.
The researchers found that the forests around the streams suffered because the bears’ fish carcasses were no longer there to enrich the soil.
Not to mention that the bears are now shitting in the woods near the elderberries, and not in the woods near the streams.
“Bears switched from eating salmon to elderberries, disrupting an ecological link that typically fertilizes terrestrial ecosystems and generates high mortality rates for salmon,” the study said.
Sounds like a win for the salmon, though.

Bears have to be crazy to prefer elderberries to salmon. Elderberries were common at our vacation place in Oregon years ago, and we (I mean Georgia) tried to make a pie out of them. I think it was the only pie I couldn't eat. Irredeemably sour, with gritty seeds. I guess may you could make wine out of them, but there's a reason you don't find Elderberries in the Whole Foods.

1 comment:

  1. I think/thought I remembered some good Elderberry Jam though.

    Probably strained the berry's through cheese cloth to get rid of the seeds and added a lot of sugar along with pectin.