The melting Arctic ice has brought polar bears and grizzly bears together and their hybrid offspring, known as "pizzlies," have been detected on Canadian islands. It is a trend that is happening with other species as well, and scientists are worried because it poses a risk to biodiversity.
The two students from the University of Alberta, flying across the Arctic ice in a helicopter, were startled by what they saw below: a white dot and a brown dot on the ice. The biologists soon realized it was a grizzly bear next to a polar bear. The sighting was on Victoria Island, 500 kilometers (313 miles) from the grizzlies' normal habitat on the Canadian mainland.
The polar bear also struck them as a little strange. It had a dark stripe on its back, its snout looked dirty, its head was noticeably larger than normal, and there was a hump behind its shoulders, which is normally found only on brown bears. The paws looked as if the animal were wearing socks. The students had discovered a strange hybrid that goes by various names: grolar bear, pizzly or Nanulak, a combination of the two Inuit words for the animals' parents: polar bear (Nanuk) and grizzly (Aklak).