Turns out a bear fight of genetic proportions is taking place in northern Canada after scientists recently examined a hybrid Grizzly/Polar Bear that was shot by a Nunavut hunter this past week reports CBC News.
The species, which some have termed a “Grolar” or “Prizzly” bear, is becoming more and more common according to wildlife biologists. In an interview with CBC, David Garshelis of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says the two species have similar genetics and as such are able to interbreed. Garshelis went on to indicate that the increased interbreeding between the two may be due to climate change.
“With climate change, grizzly bears are moving further north, so there is more overlap between grizzly bears and polar bears in terms of their range” – David Garshelis, Minnesorta Department of Natural Resources
The tell-tale signs of such a hybrid include the coloring of a polar bear and the physical features of a grizzly such as the immense claws and square head. Also, these hybrids are not to be confused with albino grizzlies, which retain no pigment in their paws, nose, or eyes.
Bear hunts are a tradition for native Inuit peoples and as long as a tag is legally obtained, hunting bears is completely legal. There have been at least three hybrid “Prizzly” bears killed since 2006.
Find the entire CBC article here: Grolar or pizzly? Experts say rare grizzly-polar bear hybrid shot in Nunavut