Green Polar Bears
from the book, "Petrified Lightning"

Book: 
Petrified Lightning

Green Polar Bears

Repeated stories over the years of hunters and trappers spotting green polar bears were met with skepticism. They seemed to be an Inuit version of the pink elephants described so vividly by overindulged barflies. The stories persisted but went unbelieved; after all, light in Arctic regions can play strange tricks. Did not Coleridge's Ancient Mariner happen upon an iceberg described as "ice, mast high, came floating by, as green as emerald"?

Disbelief came to an abrupt halt in 1967, when Canadian scientists surprised themselves and everyone else by verifying the tales of green polar bears. A bear had been shot whose hair was definitely green. The unfortunate animal was sick when discovered, and a mercy killing was performed to spare it further suffering. When its hair was examined under a microscope, the scientists found that the hollow tube in the center of each follicle had been invaded by a form of parasitic green algae. It was a recent adaptation for this type of algae.

A bear thus invaded becomes quite disadvantaged when surrounded by an all—white environment. Unless, of course, the bear is careful to stand in front of an emerald green iceberg.