Is it possible that the polar bears were stressed because they were being killed?
This is what happens when wild animals watch too much mainstream media. No word on whether the polar bears believe in man-made global warming, but I'm sure a follow-up study will clear up that question.
Last year, a team reported that fluctuations in climate and ice cover are closely related to stress among polar bears in East Greenland as indicated by levels of the stress hormone cortisol in hair samples. The team is hopeful this type of analysis will be beneficial once others learn that it can now be done with much greater reliably than before.
"Nobody else has done this so far," says Jerrold Meyer of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who calls himself a behavioral endocrinologist. "We've not only been one of the key developers of the technique but we have also have worked very hard to demonstrate its reliability and validity. In collaboration with Melinda Novak, chair of the psychology department, we were among the first to show in a major controlled study that a prolonged or major life stress does lead to a demonstrable increase in cortisol in hair. Now we're making the technique available to others and we hope it spurs new collaborations with our lab."
For the collaboration with Thea Bechshøft of Aarhus University and colleagues, Meyer's lab received blind hair samples from 88 polar bears legally killed between 1988 and 2009 in Greenland by indigenous people who have an arrangement with researchers to provide biological samples.
Is it at all possible that the polar bears were stressed because they were being killed, rather than because of Global Warming?
Native hunting of polar bears in the arctic is only allowed by using traditional methods which is going to be rather more "stressful" for the bear. Also it's nice to see that Global Warming researchers want to protect polar bears through an "arrangement" with people who kill polar bears.
Is there any chance that this arrangement involved money being paid to the natives which would encourage them to kill polar bears?