Polar bears are stealing booze and candy from humans, and it's really not as funny as it sounds.

Polar bears are largely known as the poster-pets of environmentalism, and it's easy to see why.

They're like giant, adorable, white-but-not-actually-white teddy bears who could just as easily cuddle you as kill you.

Also they've spent the last half-century dwindling near extinction and are still considered threatened under the Endangered Species Act.


The new rap music video from Polar B. GIF via John Downer Productions/YouTube.

And that's exactly why we should be using mass surveillance to keep them safe.

After all, it works with people, right?

"Oh hello there Mr. Spy-Drone-Video-Camera-Thing Disguised as a Giant Snowball, how are you today?" — this polar bear, probably. GIF via John Downer Productions/YouTube.

See? Polar bears love being spied on — just like us!

...Oh wait.


GIF via John Downer Productions/YouTube.

OK, so they might not appreciate the snooping. But we have good reason for keeping tabs on our fuzzy Arctic friends.

According to a new study in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, human-polar bear interactions are on the rise, now that the bears' homes and food sources are melting away.

Or, as they put it in the abstract:

"Polar bears are increasingly using land habitats in some parts of their range, where they have minimal access to their preferred prey, likely in response to loss of their sea ice habitat associated with climatic warming. [...] Projections of continued sea ice loss suggest that polar bears in the Chukchi Sea and other parts of the Arctic may increasingly use land habitats in the future, which has the potential to increase nutritional stress and human-polar bear interactions."

For all we've done to cut down on hunting all across the globe, polar bears must still contend with threats of starvation and a rapidly shrinking habitat — both of which are symptoms of the larger issues of climate change.

As a result, polar bears are wandering from their natural habitats and walking right into our backyards — with alarming frequency.

It's like when an ant shows up and ruins your picnic. Except in this case, that ant can kill you with one swipe of its massive claw.

"Draw me like one of your French girls. Then let me claw your face off." GIF via John Downer Productions/YouTube.

For example, there's the polar bear who stole a steak and wine dinner from a BBC film crew in Norway.

After a long day shooting on location for an episode of David Attenborough's "The Hunt," Sophie Lanfear and her team came home to their rented cabin in Svalbard to find a drunken polar bear passed out on the lawn, having gorged himself on their stash of wine and the 55 pounds of meat they brought along for their trip.

The polar bear returned three more times over the course of two days — but of course, there wasn't any more food for him to eat.

"Huh? What? I'm awake. You guys wanna do shots?" GIF via BBC Earth Unplugged/YouTube.

All kidding aside, the idea of a drunk polar bear stumbling through your home is pretty horrifying, to say the least.

Meanwhile, in Manitoba, Canada, polar bear wrangling is a full-time job.

Authorities actually have to police the streets on Halloween to stop polar bears from beating up little kids and stealing all their candy. There's even a dedicated bear cell at the local precinct house.

"Give us all your Kit-Kat Bars and no one gets hurt." Photo by Payton Chung/Flickr.

(Other polar bears have recently been caught trying on human pants and disco-dancing with a whale carcass, but I'm not including those photos here because they both make me uncomfortable.)

So as much as it pains me to say — maybe spying on polar bears isn't such a bad thing?

That snowball-lookin' drone in the GIFs above was one of five specially-designed spycams created as part of a BBC program called "Polar Bear: A Spy on the Ice" — until the polar bear came along and gleefully crushed it, anyway.

These spycams allow filmmakers and researchers to get up-close-and-personal with polar bears, and gather information on their movements, habits, and behaviors.

As the show's director, John Downer, explains in an interview with Mongabay:

"Some of our small Snowcams were designed to operate autonomously, they would power up and record once a bear came within 20 metre range of it. These could be left for up to one week in the extreme cold. They even contained a satellite phone that would automatically call us on sensing a bear. [...] They were strengthened to withstand the bears' crushing body weight and powerful jaws. Icebergcam was able to follow bears hunting on the sea ice and track alongside them from just a paw swipe away. The close proximity of the cameras provided viewers with an engaging and fresh experience of polar bears that was far removed from the solitary cold killers as they have been traditionally portrayed."

Data collection alone won't help us stop climate change any more than it helps stop terrorism (which is not at all). But if we're not going to pay attention to the damage that we're doing to the planet — and we really should — then we're going to need to figure out how to coexist with our furry new neighbors.

"Do you have a moment to talk about your Lord and Savior — hey wait come back!" GIF via John Downer Productions/YouTube.

But despite their increasingly erratic behavior, things are (mostly) looking up for the polar bear population.

It's hard to get an exact count, but the general consensus is that the polar bear population has at least doubled since its lowest point in the late-1960s. And thanks to those handy polar bear wranglers, no one in Manitoba has been mauled by a bear in more than 30 years. That's a win on both sides, right?

But none of that changes the fact that they're still in danger — and so are we, as long as their homes continue to melt away.

So let's demand that our world leaders take action now to protect our planet's climate, or else we'll have to deal with a lot worse than polar bears drinking all our booze and ruining Halloween.

Heroes
via Twitter / Soraya

There is a strange right-wing logic that suggests when minorities fight for equal rights it's somehow a threat to the rights already held by those in the majority or who hold power.

Like when the Black Lives Matter movement started, many on the right claimed that fighting for black people to be treated equally somehow meant that other people's lives were not as valuable, leading to the short-lived All Lives Matter movement.

This same "oppressed majority" logic is behind the new Straight Pride movement which made headlines in August after its march through the streets of Boston.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

For most of us, the hypothetical question of whether we would stick with a boyfriend or girlfriend through the trials of cancer and the treatments is just that – a hypothetical question. We would like to think we would do the right thing, but when Max Allegretti got the chance to put his money where mouth is, he didn't hesitate for a second.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via bfmamatalk / facebook

Where did we go wrong as a society to make women feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public?

No one should feel they have the right to tell a woman when, where, and how she can breastfeed. The stigma should be placed on those who have the nerve to tell a woman feeding her child to "Cover up" or to ask "Where's your modesty?"

Breasts were made to feed babies. Yes, they also have a sexual function but anyone who has the maturity of a sixth grader knows the difference between a sexual act and feeding a child.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Instagram / JLo

The Me Too movement has shed light on just how many actresses have been placed in positions that make them feel uncomfortable. Abuse of power has been all too commonplace. Some actresses have been coerced into doing something that made them uncomfortable because they felt they couldn't say no to the director. And it's not always as flagrant as Louis C.K. masturbating in front of an up-and-coming comedian, or Harvey Weinstein forcing himself on actresses in hotel rooms.

But it's important to remember that you can always firmly put your foot down and say no. While speaking at The Hollywood Reporter's annual Actress Roundtable, Jennifer Lopez opened up about her experiences with a director who behaved inappropriately. Laura Dern, Awkwafina, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong'o, and Renee Zellweger were also at the roundtable.

Keep Reading Show less
popular