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'Drowned polar bear' scientist Charles Monnett reprimanded but reinstated


A Greenpeace activist, wearing an polar bear costume, holds a banner reading 'Stop Shell Save the Arctic' and informs the press about the Greenpeace new campaign against the oil experimental research drilling of Shell Oil Company on the Artic, as he stands in Budapest, nearby a Shell petrol station, on June 21,2012.



A government scientist who drew international attention to drowning polar bears in the Arctic did not engage in scientific misconduct, federal investigators have found.

Wildlife biologist Charles Monnett was cleared to return to his job at the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM), the Alaska Dispatch reported — but only after being suspended, reinstated and reassigned.

Monnett and a colleague, ecologist Jeffrey Gleason, wrote an influential 2006 report describing apparently drowned polar bears floating in the Arctic, the Dispatch wrote.

The report coincided with the offshore hunt for oil in US Arctic waters.

According to NPR, the dead bears "became a symbol of the threat of climate change and melting ice," with Al Gore using them to galvanize opinion in his film about global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth."

However, allegations that Monnett and Gleason used false data in an article they wrote on polar bears called their sightings into question, the Australian Associated Press reported.

During the more-than two-year-long investigation, Monnett was asked repeatedly about the dead-polar-bear research.

However, on Friday BOEM told Monnett that no action would be taken against him — except for an official reprimand for wrongfully releasing government records in 2007 and 2008.

More from GlobalPost: Polar bears have lived through climate change before, can they again?