August 10, 2012

Grolar Bears & Pizzlies

Wow!  I can't believe it's Friday already.  This week has just flown on by! 

It's been a while, so I figured it was time for some polar bear talk... I came across an interesting article  from my friends at Polar Bears International addressing polar bear evolution and what it means for polar bears in a warming climate.  With talk of "pizzlies" and "grolar bears" (grizzly/polar bear hybrid) in the news the past few years, I thought it would be an interesting read to share. Not to mention, more and more out of state visitors are asking about it and I just find it really intriguing. Some food for thought going into the weekend:

The article discusses how in the wild, climate change is erasing the distance between the brown bear and polar bear species. Brown bears are moving north into polar bear territory, and polar bears are being forced off melting ice to spend more time on land, where they're more likely to encounter brown bears. With sea ice melting at an unprecedented rate, and polar bears consequently being driven towards extinction, people are beginning to wonder if this hybridization and their production of viable offspring will be the saving grace for the great white bear.  "Whether this hybrid can produce viable offpsring or not, and regardless of what we learn from continuing studies on the polar bear, it is important to remember that hybridization does not offer salvation for polar bears.  The current rate of global warming is so rapid polar bears will starve and become extinct long before their genes may be swamped by those of brown bears.  And as polar bear lovers and conservationists, it is not whether some polar bear genes "live on" in a hybrid terrestrial animal, like a pizzly, it is whether the great white bear we all know and love, and its unique habits and habitat, can persist."

Just some food for thought.


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