Norwegian Short-Tailed Yak Bear

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Norwegian Stumpy-tailed Yak Bear

Male (left) and female short-tailed yak bears

The Norwegian Short-Tailed Yak Bear (Bosursus Grizlii), not to be confused with the polar bear or the Seventeen spotted eastern-most blue-nailed field wallaby, is an animal best described as the result of a one night stand between an elephant and an owl with antlers, or a large fluffy rabbit that isn't. It is the northern hemisphere equivalent of the impala antelope of Africa.

Description

The Norwegian short-tailed yak bear is a very unusual animal, vaguely resembling a yak but more closely something that isn't that at all. Males, called stags, may grow over four feet tall and up to two hundred pounds, while females, usually known as nullers or bunties (pronounced boon-tees), rarely grow half as large. Both genders have the same dense, oily coat of white fur and a small, somewhat undeveloped but nevertheless functional trunk, reminiscent of an elephant's, but only stags have tusks. By the time a stag is fourteen or fifteen years old, his randomly forking tusks may weigh over 100 pounds and are often twisted and entwined around most of his body, sometimes preventing feeding and often preventing him from laying down, or in some cases walking or breathing. These tusks have little purpose, as females seem quite indifferent to them and they are far too large to be used in fighting, but they are somewhat useful for defense against predators, mainly other yak bears, which will never miss the opportunity to eat another yak bear's ankles.

The short-tailed yak bear also has abnormally large eyes, sometimes up to a foot in diameter. This seemingly unnecessary adaptation is likely a remnant from before the yak bear evolved from it's nocturnal squid ancestors. Lacking eyelids, the yak bear uses it's millions of microscopic eyebrow tongues to lick each eye clean up to a billion times per minute.

Behaviour and habits

Living on the barren tundra and taiga regions of the north, every day is a struggle to survive for the yak bear. During winter, deep snow may prevent the bear from reaching the pebbles and sand beneath. If this happens, the yak bear will take to hunting large mammals, mainly caribou. It may eat nothing but caribou for seven months of the year. However, as soon as the weather warms, the yak bear returns to it's preferred diet.

Yak bears do not do anything of interest when not feeding. Usually, they sit comatose in the snow or grass and stare off into space. Sometimes, they'll briefly stand up, turn around, and lay back down, comatose again. Sometimes one explodes or bursts into beautiful bird-like song for a few hours, but this is rare.

By the time it reaches the age of twenty, the yak bear usually dies. Sometimes, if it is momentarily distracted by something like a foot or grape soda, it will forget this and live for another twenty years.

Distribution and habitat

The Norwegian short-tailed yak bear lives mainly in Norwegia, hence its namesake. It is also found throughout Sweden, Iceland, and Russia. During the fall, it migrates to its breeding grounds in Canada and Alaska, with occasional sightings of lost yak bears in Tokyo asking for directions. Its main habitat is the tundra and taiga forests within its natural range.

As invasive species

While yak bears are native to most of the northern hemisphere, they have been introduced to several parts of the world. During the late 1990's, hunters have smuggled yak bear cubs from their dens and replaced them with kittens so that their parents wouldn't realize they were missing. The yak bear cubs were put into farms, where they were bred for their fur coats, which surprisingly make good sweater vests. In late 2001, it was made illegal to persecute any yak bear. The yak bear farms were shut down and the animals were released into the wild.

The animals are now considered an invasive species in Utah, Alabama, Australia, Zimbabwe, and Antarctica. They have caused much damage to the ecosystems through foreign diseases, mainly explode-when-exposed-to-sunlight-syndrome, and their explosive defecation. They also eat the foods that the native animals depend on. Conservationists believe that the yak bears are better suited to these areas, as none of them (except Antarctica) contain the cold temperatures and snow which makes it hard for them to survive in their natural range.

Diet

Native to most of the northern hemisphere and introduced elsewhere, the short-tailed yak bear is one of the most abundant small mammals on Earth, with an estimated population of three hundred with a margin of error of three hundred. Its success as a species no doubt results from its ability to thrive on an arguably poor diet of nothing but gravel, damp sand, shards of glass, and small pebbles. Of course, when available it will gorge itself on other foods, especially straw, cardboard and sticks. However, due to intense competition from other, more aggressive arctic carnivores, mainly seagulls and ptarmigan, the short-tailed yak bear rarely, if ever, gets to eat such high quality fare. Due to the somewhat coarse texture of its diet, a yak bear typically wears down all of its teeth by its second year, forcing it to swallow the pebbles and sand whole, which often causes indigestion and sometimes explosive diarrhea.

Conservation

Despite that they are a protected species, yak bears are under threat of extinction throughout their range. This is mainly because hunters kill them to make sweater vests out of their fur coats. Their ribs are also used as rakes and expensive restaurant items. They also face threat from severe flooding, as they can't swim. Though it isn't as frequent as hunting. Other factors include the yak bear's low reproductive rate, poor quality of life, and explosiveness.

Steps are currently being taken to protect the yak bear from extinction. Scientists are putting hidden lasers into the yak bear's habitat to neutralize any hunters in the vicinity. The lasers are fitted with sensors to prevent them from shooting at other people or yak bears. There are also plans to give yak bear the intelligence about sex so that their population will increase.

However, some conservationists believe that the yak bears can save themselves from extinction. As global warming continues to warm the northern hemisphere, the snow and ice will soon be minimal. Thus the animals can then survive better.

See Also

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