How did you get on with last week’s Mystery Creature? Did you get it?… I admit there was a trick to it as it was a hybrid animal… a cross between a polar bear and a grizzly… often referred to as a GROLAR or a PRIZZLY or a NANULAK.
Although this grizzly-polar bear hybrid is a rarity it has been found in captivity BUT also as a natural crossing in the wild.
In 2006 the first confirmation of a grizzly-polar bear hybrid was determined by DNA testing.
In 2010 the first second-generation hybrid was confirmed (again in the wild); DNA analysis revealed the bear to be the offspring of a grizzly-polar hybrid mother and a grizzly father.
These hybrid bears exhibit characteristic features of both species…
- Their body size is smaller than the polar bear but larger than the grizzly.
- Their heads are broad like the grizzly’s but their faces are long and narrow like the polar bear.
- Their necks are longer like the polar bear but their backs are hunched behind the shoulder just like the grizzly.
- The soles of their feet are partially covered in hair: the polar bear’s soles are insulated with hair while the grizzly’s are bare.
Not surprisingly this pairing of grizzly with polar bear is thought to be a result of global warming. Melting ice caps are forcing Polar bears to remain on land while some grizzly bears are being found in more Northern regions due to temperature increase and destruction of their habitat . The two species are more likely to encounter each other under these new living conditions. What is even more alarming is the reporting of an increased number of these hybrid animals, a fact that would likely endanger the future existence of both bears.