Grolar bears are global warning

BOFFINS fear Arctic ice melting could see the rise of a polar bear and grizzly bear hybrid - dubbed the 'grolar bear.'

The effects of climate change means the hybrid bears could become more common as their habitats increasingly overlap due to global warning.

Biologist Dr George Divoky, who has worked in the Arctic region for over three decades, said: “One of the real things that is happening is that grizzlies are moving north, at the same time the polar bears are forced to be on the beach and we have found a number of grizzly bear polar bear hybrids.

“Essentially that could mean that it would save the polar bear genes in the grizzly population.”
In April 2006, a white bear with brown patches was shot in northern Canada and DNA tests confirmed it was a 'grolar' bear.

It was said to have been fathered by a male grizzly and a female polar bear.

Dr Divoky has witnessed first-hand the ravaging effects of climate change in the Arctic over 30 years.

And he delivered a stark warning of what the future holds. He believes that by THIS summer there could be no ice at the North Pole.

Dr Divoky told The Sun at the Ben & Jerry's Climate Change College: “Having seen things, I would never be surprised if in 2008 the summer ice disappears.

“This has never happened in the period of human observation. We will know it when it happens and we will have to deal with that.”

Institute of Arctic Biology Research Associate Dr Divoky has dedicated the best part of his life studying the life cycle of the Guillemot sea bird on Cooper Island, off the nothern coast of Alaska.

He stays for months at a time on the island each year.

As a result, he has witnessed the onset of climate change first hand and its effects, which includes Cooper Island being invaded by hungry polar bears, left behind by the retreating ice.

Some of Dr Divoky's data has been used by experts trying to predict the melting of the sea ice in the future.

He added: “You don't need to have models to show the rate of change in the Arctic, it's there in terms of the observations.”

Some of the starkest evidence Dr Doviky has seen of the changing Arctic is more polar bears foraging for food on his island, where he sleeps in a hut when he is carrying out research.

From 1975 to 2002, he saw just three polar bears.
Since then, they have become an annual occurence, and one year Dr Divoky saw TWENTY in three days.

He added: “Now polar bears are annual and regular.”
The biologist also gave a glimpse of what the Arctic could look like if there was no ice in the summer months.

Dr Doviky explained: “All of those animals who depended on the ice being there, won't have the ice there.

“It will impact the populations because there will be fewer young. It's critical in terms of providing food in the way of either fish or seals, it means that the organisms depending on that will have less food available and they will suffer in terms of their body condition and ultimately starving.”
And Dr Divoky hada message for climate change sceptics, saying: “Having a polar bear show up in your front yard is one of the more compelling pieces of evidence that climate change is real.”

Gli effetti dei cambiamenti climatici si fanno sentire anche tra gli orsi. Nella foto vedete un incrocio (ibrido) tra un orso polare e un grizzly. Questo in passato era rarissimo perché vivevano in ambienti diversi.Adesso però i grizzly stanno andando verso Nord nel Continente americano e nello stesso tempo gli orsi polari devono rimanere nelle spiagge. Questo comporta un aumento esponenziale degli incroci. Ormai molti geni di Grizzly sono entrati nella popolazione degli orsi polari e gli ecologisti lanciano l'allarme per preservare l'identità della specie. In genere l'accoppiamento avviene tra un maschio grizzly e una femmina di orso polare. Le analisi del DNA hanno confermato il tutto.