A DNA test of the animal, which also had the long claws and humped back commonly associated with a grizzly bear, revealed that it was the new hybrid – according to a report by TheAssociated Press at the time.
However, in a video posted to YouTube, Larisa DeSantis from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee said: “We’ve known about pizzlies for quite some time, but their occurrence may be more common with ongoing Arctic warming.”
While polar bears are based in the Arctic, DeSantis said that grizzly bears are moving further north as a result of rising temperatures.
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“As grizzlies move north, they are more likely to come in contact with polar bears in regions where the ranges overlap,” ” she said.
“Further, polar bears are increasingly having to search for other food sources, when hunting seals from sea ice becomes untenable.”
The two types of bear have been spotted near dead whales, which has encouraged them to “engage in opportunistic mating,” she continued.
DeSantis went on to add that “time will only tell” when it comes to finding out whether the hybrids are better at handling a warming Arctic.