Zoo's Polar Bears Go Green

Bear pond algae stains fur
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2008 6:38 AM CDT
A polar bear, its fur stained with algae, stands in its cage at Higashiyama Zoo in Nagoya, central Japan.   (AP Photo/Kyodo News, Shuzo Shikano)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Polar bears at a Japanese zoo are turning green, AP reports. Visitors to Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Nagoya are stunned by big green patches on the bears' fur, caused by algae. The algae was picked up by swimming in the bear pond and is now growing deep within the animals' fur.

High summer temperatures and fewer water changes due to conservation efforts have triggered the algae growth in the bears' pond. "Visitors seem to be shocked by the color, and we are asked every day why they are so green," said  a zoo official. The bears' color is expected to return to normal when the algae dies off in cooler weather.