A 10-year study that monitored 112 bears in Alberta’s Rocky Mountain region found that warmer temperatures and easier access to food associated with forest disturbances helped the grizzlies to build more fat, and that increases chances of successful reproduction for mothers.
The ‘Silver Spoon Effect’ is what results and it shows that bears born into this environment have a head-start in life. By studying variations in body size for bears, scientists can better understand what environments best suit them.
‘A simple rule is, the fatter the bear the better. Certain environments promote fatter bears,’ said Scott Nielsen, University of Alberta biologist.
In years when there were warmer temperatures and later snowfalls, the body size of adult bears was larger. Furthermore, in colder years smaller bears were found. It seems that warmer temperatures are a benefit to the grizzlies. With warmer temperatures, there is more food for the grizzlies which fattens them up, which increases their chance of survival. While we shouldn’t encourage climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, these changes may actually benefit some species.