Grizzly bears and polar bears have quite a bit in common. Yes, they are both bears, they’re both huge, covered in dense fur and can let out a pretty mighty roar, but have you ever seen a cross between the two animals? Well, this hybrid bear actually does exist! They’re known as ‘pizzly bears’ or ‘grolar bears’ and are a blend between two species.
A ‘pizzly’ bear is a hybrid animal that is born as a result of inbreeding between a grizzly bear and a polar bear. Polar bears which are endangered are breeding with grizzly bears, creating hybrid “pizzly” bears, and it’s being driven by climate change. Global Warming is causing the actic ice to melt and starving polar bears are being driven ever further south to find food. Because of the warmer climates, Grizzlies are able to venture further north. The overlap of the two territories of the Polar bear and grizzlies increases the contact between the two species and is resulting in more mating, and therefore increased sightings of their hybrid offspring.
We’ve known about pizzlies for quite some time, but their occurrence may be more common with ongoing Arctic warming’ Wild sightings of hybrid pizzly bears began in 2006, when a hunter shot what he thought was a polar bear in the Northwest Territories of the Canadian Arctic.
When he took a closer look he found an altogether more unusual animal: A bear with the cream-white fur of a polar bear but the long claws, humped back, shallow face and brown patches of a grizzly. DNA tests confirmed that the animal was a hybrid — the first documented wild offspring of a polar bear and a grizzly bear.
Since then, sightings of the hybrids have been increasing. With features that could give them an edge in warming northern habitats, some scientists speculate that the pizzlies could be here to stay.