September 18, 2020

It's Official! It's a Grolarpizzly…er uh, a Prizzlyolar…er uh, a Pizzolar…er uh

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Remember this story about a guy from the U.S. who paid $50,000 to go on a polar bear hunt and killed a bear that appeared to be part grizzly and part polar bear? Well, the game officials confiscated his bear and threatened that he would be charged with a crime for killing a bear he didn’t have a permit for.

The same officials have run DNA tests on the bear and determined that the bear is a 50-50 mix of grizzly and polar. So does that mean Jim Martell, who shot the bear only gets half the amount of jail time and a half fine? No, they returned his bear to him and he will now be the proud owner of a very unique, one-of-a-kind bear – skin, rug, stuffed, whatever.

Discovering a cross breed between these two species is not heard of in the wild but happens in zoos sometimes. What makes the event rare is the fact that the habitat for the two bear species doesn’t really overlap that much and the mating process of the polar bear is some different. The polar bear has to go through a bit of an engagement process for at least a week, sometimes more, before it becomes fertile. The chances of a grizzly and polar bear having a one night stand is not heard of. So these two bears got it on for a while before heading their seperate ways.

What is not clear and evidently can’t be determined is which species sired and which conceived and bore the offspring. There is also the distinct possibility that there was more than one offspring and did the offspring mate with other bears and if so, which kind?

As humorous as this all can be made out to be, it could be devastating to the species. Studies have shown that the grizzly bear has adapted to some of the polar bear ways, like seal hunting. As a matter of fact, the bear that Martell killed had remnants of seal meat in its stomach.

One name for this bear that has been tossed around is “nanulak” a cross in native Inuit names for the polar bear – “nanuk” – and the grizzly – “aklak”. The natives in the town where the guide who lead Martell on his hunt, just call it “half-breed”.

Tom Remington

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