Pizzly or Grolar Bear? The Hybrid Grizzly and Polar Bear is the Cutest Result of Climate Change
A rare breed of bear is becoming more common because of climate change.
The "pizzly bear" or "grolar bear" is mix of polar bear and grizzly bear. The polar-grizzly hybrid is a result of the increasing interactions between the two different bear species.
Hunter Didji Ishalook, 25, saw the peculiar animal on top of a hill near his home community of Arviat in Canada. From afar, he thought it was an Arctic fox or a polar bear. But up close, he noticed that it was rather shaped like a grizzly but its fur was white like that of a polar bear.
"It turned out to be a grizzly half-breed," Ishalook told The Guardian. "It looks like a polar bear but... it's got brown paws and big claws like a grizzly. And the shape of a grizzly head," added the witness.
Dave Garshelis, a research scientist from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and a bear expert, agrees that the animal was indeed a grizzly-polar bear and not an albino grizzly bear.
"An albino bear would have light-colored or pink-colored nose, and no pigmentation in the eyes and the claws," Garshelis said.
According to Garshelis, polar and grizzly bears have a history of interbreeding. He believes that the interbreeding is happening more frequently now as an effect of climate change.
These hybrid species have become common in recent years as the Arctic started to warm. Grizzly bears from Alaska and Canada appear to be moving north as their home environment warms, and they happen to come across polar bears on the coastline.
Polar bears are said to be spending more time on land as Arctic ice continues to diminish, causing a decline in their numbers as they are unable to hunt for their prefered prey such as seals.
Polar bears evolved from brown bears around 150,000 years ago and are now considered the world's largest land carnivores at about 1,600 lbs. Grizzly bears are known for the distinctive hump on their shoulders, and are often solitary animals.