FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Researchers are taking a closer look at climate change and how it impacts polar bears.

Colleen Duncan is a veterinarian at Colorado State University and is the lead investigator on the project. Specifically, she’s looking at how climate change changes how infectious diseases spread in polar bears.

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Colleen Duncan

Dr. Colleen Duncan of CSU and research colleague Todd Atwood of the U.S. Geological Survey prepare to collect biological samples and health data from a tranquilized study subject. (credit: Colorado State University)

Duncan and her team are just back from northwest Alaska where they tracked polar bears across vast fields of snow and ice, getting samples from the bears after they traquilized them to get information about their health. They also collected blood samples and swabbed their mouths.

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The researchers are now studying the samples and hope to have some answers soon.

Polar bears are threatened by the melting snow caps.

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MORE INFO: news.colostate.edu