DNA evidence released this week showed a much-hyped blonde bear killed by a hunter in Canada’s Nunavut region was not a grizzly polar hybrid, or grolar bear, but rather a light-haired grizzly. News outlets and prestigious zoologists speculated it was a grizzly-polar hybrid and it was the direct result of global warming. The bear’s death sparked renewed interest from the public and media, as grolar bears are considered rare. The Washington Post devoted an entire story on how climate change was forcing grizzly and polar bears to breed with abandon. Hardly.
Examiner news first reported last May that an Inuit hunter from Arviat, Canada, shot a blonde polar bear and posted it to social media. The whole episode created quite a stir. Not because the hunter, Didji Ishalook, killed the animal for sustenance, but rather the various news outlets were alleging this grizzly-polar bear hybrid was a direct result of global warming.
Even before the bear’s DNA was tested by a lab, news outlets like the WAPO ran misleading stories that global warming was forcing polar bears and grizzlies to inhabit the same regions, forcing them to mate with the “best possible partners as opposed to not mating at all.” The WAPO didn’t do its homework: grizzly females are much more aggressive than male polar bears, making this ursine coupling extremely rare.
Ishalook, who hunts mainly in Canada’s Nunavut territory, brought the blonde bear to people’s attention when he shared his kill photos on Facebook May 15 (see photo), writing beneath it: “Female grizzly/polar bear. Got my first bear woohoo!!” Inuits hunt bears for food and use their skin for clothing.
The media machine took the normally common story of Inuits hunting for sustenance and built another alarmist global warming story where grizzlies were invading the Arctic and raping the natural world. That was the final straw for polar bear expert Dr. Susan Crockford, who devoted numerous postings on her Polar Bear Science website, trying to insert the facts into the global-warming hybrid hysteria. She even wrote up five facts that challenge the grolar bear nonsense.
Dr. Crockford wrote on her site Tuesday that, “All the hubris last month about polar bear x 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.” She notes that an awful lot of “experts” now have egg on their faces.