It turns out that the grizzly/polar grolar bear hybrid was not a hybrid at all. It was just a blonde grizzly bear. Chalk up another miss for climate alarmists.
Several weeks ago a hunter in Nunavut, Canada shot a very light colored bear, took a few photos of it and shared them on social media.
Almost immediately global warming advocates declared that the bear was a hybrid “grolar bear,” the offspring of grizzly and polar bear parents.
They declared this grolar bear to be the result of manmade global warming, as climate change was causing the range of grizzly bears to expand into northern climates where they could mate with polar bears.
Minnesota DNR Research Scientist, Dave Garshelis, said to CBC News that climate change was likely pushing grizzly bears further north into the habitat of polar bears, resulting in interbreeding between the two species.
Other scientists jumped onto the grolar bear bandwagon, eager to declare the bear a hybrid and that global warming was the culprit. “I think it’s 99 percent sure that it’s going to turn out to be a hybrid,” said Ian Stirling, emeritus research scientist with Environment Canada and adjunct professor at the University of Alberta.
Beth Shapiro, an associate professor at the University of California Santa Cruz, said that “This [hybridization] is maybe an evolutionary mechanism for polar bear DNA to stick around even if polar bears can’t because of climate change.”
Andrew Derocher, a professor of biological studies at the University of Alberta, also stated, “I hate to say it, but from a genetic perspective, it’s quite likely grizzly bears will eat polar bears up, genetically.” He also declared that if the ice disappears, “we won’t have grizzlies or polar bears in this area. If you roll the clock ahead another number of decades or a century, quite clearly it’s going to be no bears eventually.”
But recent DNA testing confirmed that the bear was in fact not a hybrid, but was rather simply a blonde grizzly bear. It happened to be in a range where the habitats of both animals overlap. “The DNA lab concludes that the animal was a blonde grizzly bear and it does not have a polar bear parent,” a Nunavut environmental department spokesperson told Nunatsiaq News.
And contrary to the dire warnings about polar bear populations being decimated by declining polar ice, it appears that polar bear numbers are increasing and that the animals look very healthy.
“All the hubris last month about polar bear and grizzly hybrids, based on an unusual-looking bear killed near Arviat, has turned out to be wishful thinking by those who’d like to blame everything to do with polar bears on climate change,” said Susan Crockford, veteran zoologist and polar bear expert, on her blog, “Polar Bear Science: Past and Present“. “An awful lot of ‘experts’ now have egg on their faces.”
“Some otherwise pretty renown bear biologists jumped on the hybrid bear story without even knowing what they were talking about. “I think it was something blown out of proportion, with the wrong information to start,” said Mathieu Dumond, a regional wildlife manager in Nanavut.
The two species are closely related, making hybrids unusual but not unheard of. “But that doesn’t mean it happens often or that it’s going to happen more often. It may, but polar bears have a healthy population and so do grizzly bears,” said Dumond. “Unless they’re like people and have their own preferences, they’ll mate with any other grizzly.”
This story should have been written as a simple “subsistence hunter kills unusual colored bear to feed his family”, but was instead grabbed by a media and scientists who favored a climate alarmist narrative, and who ran with it. They didn’t do their due diligence, but favored the narrative at the expense of the whole, true story.
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