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Grizzly Bear Polar Bear Hybrid Shot and Killed

Grizzly Bear Polar Bear Hybrid Shot and Killed

In Canada’s Northwest Territories (not far from Alaska) an Inuit hunter shot and killed a strange-looking polar bear. After an examination by scientists, it was confirmed the bear was part polar and part grizzly. The bear had the trademark thick white fur of a polar bear, but it also had brown paws, brown legs and a wide head.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources for the North West Territories remarked, “…it may be the first recorded second-generation polar-grizzly bear hybrid found in the wild.”

It’s quite sad the discovery had to come as a result of the bear’s death. A similar hybrid bear was also discovered after being shot in 2006. DNA tests are being conducted to determine if the two ‘grolar’ bears are genetically related.

Climate change is thought to be the cause of polar bears moving into traditional grizzly territory. There is less sea ice, and so more land is exposed to polar bears, which brings them into closer contact with the grizzlies.

Rather than being a few isolated incidents, hybrids could become more common as habitat changes bring more species together. One biologist predicts hybridization may not be limited to bears in the area. “That’s going to give a lot of organisms – a lot of marine mammals in particular -  who’ve been separated for at least 10,000 years the opportunity to interbreed again, and we’re  predicting we’re going to see a lot more of that.”

The NorthWest Territories Environment Departments estimates there are about 3,000 wild polar bears living in the arctic coastal areas. They estimate the grizzly population there to be of a somewhat larger size. A population of grizzlies also live in the arctic coastal areas.

Image Credit: Canadian Wildlife Service

(Note the bear pictured above is the grolar bear from 2006.)

Read more: Behavior & Communication, Nature & Wildlife, Pets, , ,

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311 comments

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12:11AM PDT on May 27, 2013

Such a tragedy :(

9:31AM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

This is heartbeaking.Whenever he can, man is as horrible as possible.

6:07PM PDT on Jun 20, 2012

Regretfully, many of these Inuit hunters I've read are being hired by Canadian trophy hunters to act as guides to finding these bears so these hunters can shoot them and mount their heads as trophies on a wall or use the polar bear as a rug! In many of these instances, Inuits are not using these bears as subsistence. Their being paid by hunters to act as hunting guides! Also recently on care2 there was a petition asking Canada to stop hiring Inuits to kill polar bears so that the Canadian govt. can cash in on the sale of polar bear skins! I think this subsistence argument is being used too often as a guise for killing these animals to "cash in" by many who are doing it out of greed.

2:13AM PDT on Apr 29, 2012

Stupid people. Stop this criminal hunt.

9:09AM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

Natures way of saving the polar bear and they shoot it.

5:43AM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

This breaks my heart. What pigs!! Shame on all of you!!

10:45PM PDT on Apr 27, 2012

stupid aholes I agree with Wendy above me give them a long painful death.

10:26PM PDT on Apr 27, 2012

Stupid useless people...

2:32AM PST on Dec 11, 2011

I agree with Lisbett C. I doubt if there are any Inuits who AREN'T subsistence hunters. If you don't understand, just type "subsistence econmy-Inuits" in your browser" and educate yourself instead of this knee-jerk reaction to hunting.

I also agree with knowing WHY. Perfectfully understandable if the reason was "merely" subsistence. But if you had to face a polar bear or a grizzly with only a rifle, you'd be singing a different tune. I doubt if hybrids would be less aggressive.

And no, I do not approve of trophy hunting. And generally I don't approve of predator killing unless it's trying to kill you. But then I don't live in a remote and mostly frozen North.

11:20PM PST on Dec 10, 2011

Another senseless death.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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