Approximately five thousand polar bears will be brought to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2016. The National Park Service released a statement recently, and there is a good deal to be excited about.

The Polar Bear Relocation Project

In the recent statement released through the National Park Service, plans were established for a five-year effort to transport polar bears from the Arctic Circle, all the way to the North Carolina/Tennessee Smoky Mountains. The decision to do so could not have come at a more crucial time.

The Decline in Polar Bear Population

Experts believe that due to rapid changes to their natural environment, the number of polar bears currently in the wild has dwindled to somewhere around twenty to twenty-five thousand examples. Between rising temperatures and severe pollution, it is believed that unless dramatic actions are taken, the population will continue to experience its sharp decline. By 2050, it is possible that without any efforts towards improvement, the polar bear population will drop to somewhere around two-thirds.

Coca Cola Polar Bear Smoky MountainsDonations by Coca-Cola

This is why the recent announcement from the National Park Service is being seen as a measure of relief for this beleaguered species. It is also worth noting that Coca-Cola donated twenty-million dollars to the endeavor.

The timeline for the project is fairly straightforward. In order to avoid upsetting the eco system of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park region, the polar bears will be captured and introduced into the area at a slow-yet-consistent pace. The project will begin and maintain introducing the bears to the area at a rate of approximately one thousand per year. This will continue, until the project reaches its conclusion.

A Worthy Climate

Although the Arctic Circle is indeed quite different from the Great Smoky Mountains region in a number of ways, experts believe the move is still a smart one to make. The cool, moist climate of the area is expected to be a good match for the sensibilities of the polar bears. A nearby ski resort will also loan ski resort snow machines to the project. This will be done to ensure the bears’ move to the region will be as comfortable as possible.

The NEW Grey Bear to be expected!

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As might be expected, it is believed that the polar bears will eventually mate with the black bears in the area. This will likely result in a new super-species that scientists have already dubbed the grey bear.

Safety Precautions

A number of safety measures concerning picnicking, camping, driving, and fishing have also been released, in relation to the polar bears.


Stop believing everything you read on the internet, especially on April 1st. That’s right, the Polar Bear Relocation Project is an April Fools’ Day joke! While there won’t be any Arctic additions to the national park, the Smokies are already home to an incredible variety of animals.


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