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Ammassalik kommune

(6) One case, where a bear (age and sex not provided) had developed

an abnormal claw due to a fracture, was reported by a hunter from

Ittoqqortoormiit.

(7) Near Sulussugutikajik/Steward Ø ”quite a few years ago” a polar

bear was shot (age and sex not provided), which had dark hairs (melanism)

evenly distributed over the entire body at intervals of ca. 10

cm.

Ammassalik kommune:

(8) One of the most striking observations was done in Kivioq Fjord

north of Kangerlussauq in spring 1988. In a den some local hunters

has seen a female polar bear with a malformed cub (Sandell et al.

2001). Unfortunately no further informations (pictures, samples, type

of malforamtion a.o.) was available.

(9) Another case of melanism was reported from Ammassalik municipality,

where a bear was shot in the late 1950s (age and sex not provided)

with a dark spot ”the size of a hand” on its right side.

(10) In the same municipality a polar bear was shot (age and sex not

provided) that had an area of curly hair and roughened skin in one

axilla.

(11) A skinny bear with claws entirely worn down was shot near Kulusuk

(age and sex not provided).

(12) In Kivioq Fjord a cub was shot in 1988 (age and sex not provi

ded). It had no tail and the claws on the hind legs were absent. In

addition the hindpaws were hairless.

(13) In March 1982 a cub was shot near Kulusuk (age and sex not

provided) with only one hind paw. The wound was healed and the

cub was in good condition.

Four of the 13 anomalies (collapsed lung, fractured claw, worn claws

Conclusion and bitten-off hind paw, can be regarded as ‘naturally’ caused by

trauma or disease. The remaining 9 cases (1 pseudohermaphroditic bear,

1 malformed newborn cub, 1 adult with 6 nipples, 2 bears with 6

claws, 1 bear which lacked the claws on both hind legs and 3 individuals

with unusual hair) could have been congenital abnormalities.

These 9 abnormalities were observed among at least 1110 polar bears,

suggesting a prevalence of about 0.8% or less. One case of pseudohermaphroditism

(prevalence: 0.09% or less) in East Greenland is significantly

lower than the estimated frequency at Svalbard (ca. 3%). The

interview study therefore did not indicate an alarmingly high number

of abnormal polar bears in East Greenland. However, the fact that

such cases were reported at all signifies the need for a more thorough

investigation of polar bear health. Some anomalies caused by anthropogenic

pollutants may be subtle and therefore difficult for hunters to

detect and characterize.

Aberrant sledge dogs

Sledge dogs In addition to the polar bears, 7 cases of abnormalities were reported

among the ca. 2800 sledge dogs in East Greenland (prevalence:

0.03%). These included: 3 female dogs that were infertile, 1 that was

11

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