Fancy Polar Bears Are Pooping Glitter

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Not this bear — real-life polar bears.
Not this bear — real-life polar bears.Photo: Lisa Frank

The Lisa Frank–ification of this sweet Earth reaches as far as real-life pink dolphins, fever-dream deserts, and tarot cards. Now, Canadian polar bears are pooping glitter like they’re straight out of a nightmarish reimagining of your favorite coloring books.

Polar bears at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Canada, have been eating and pooping various colors of glitter for the past two years, allowing researchers to track stress hormones in their shimmering fecal matter. Scientists feed each lucky test subject ground horse meat mixed with his or her personal glitter color, ranging from red to purple and gold.

“In the beginning it was easier because we didn’t have as many bears so we didn’t need as many colours,” Stephen Petersen, head of conservation and research at the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre, told CBC. The Lisa Frank technique is less invasive than drawing blood samples. “We want to know, are we doing it right? Are there ways we can improve?” he said.

Answer: No, there are no ways this could improve. Nothing could be better.

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