Thursday, May 11, 2006
What's it called - a prizzly?
Talk about your bears gone wild...
DNA tests confirm a bear shot by an American hunter in the Northwest Territories of Canada is the offspring of a polar bear mom and a grizzly dad. (Photo courtesy of AP)
"It’s something we’ve all known was theoretically possible because their habitats overlap a little bit and their breeding seasons overlap a little bit," said Ian Stirling, a polar bear biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Service in Edmonton. "It’s the first time it’s known to have happened in the wild."
Kuptana, an Inuit guide working for the hunter, was the first to notice something odd, according to The Associated Press. The bear’s eyes were ringed with black, its white fur was spotted brown, its face was slightly indented, and it had a mild hump to its back and long claws.
"It will be quite a trophy," Idaho hunter Jim Martell told the National Post. He told the newspaper he has dubbed his creature "polargrizz."
"He has a remarkable trophy from his perspective and from the perspective of this whole fraternity of people who like to go big-game hunting for trophies," said Stirling. When asked how he felt about the rare beast being killed, he would only say that Canada’s polar bear hunt — which runs from December through the end of May — is done on a sustainable basis.
Colin Adjun, a wildlife officer in Kugluktuk on the northern mainland in western Nunavut, said he’s heard stories before about an oddly colored bear cavorting with polars. "It was a light chocolate color along with a couple of polar bears."