While taking part in a legal polar bear hunt on the sea ice of far-northern Canada’s Northwest Territories, American trophy hunter Jim Martell shot what he supposed was a regular polar bear until he inspected its carcass more closely.
Even though it certainly sported the polar bear’s distinctive lush creamy-white pelt, dissimilar to normal polar bears his specimen had long curved claws, a humped back, and a dished rather than elongate face all features more suggestive of a grizzly bear. Furthermore, its eyes were ringed with black fur, and it also had small pieces of brown fur on its back, nose, and one foot.
Perplexed, and also anxious about whether he had unintentionally shot an abnormal specimen of grizzly a protected breed Martell gave up the bear’s body to Territories officials, and DNA samples were sent by the Northwest Territories’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources to Wildlife Genetics International, a British Columbia laboratory, for examination.
The Department subsequently reported that their studies had established that Martell’s mystery bear was a bona fide crossbred of polar bear and grizzly the first wild example ever recorded. Until then, the only known instances of crossbreeding had taken place in captivity, containing a specimen born at a zoo in Libertyville, USA, during 1960.
In the wild, grizzlies’ mate on land, whereas polar bear mate on the ice, so even though the two species’ geographical diversities do convergence it had not been thought over as conceivable that such a mating would occur as a matter of course.
If it was produced by a polar bear with a grizzly bear as its mother, then it could be related to as a pizzly, while if the reverse parentage is the accurate one it can be designated a grolar bear. For the time being, however, Martell has gladly nicknamed it a polargrizz.