Late in April 2006, American hunter Jim Martell, shown here with his prize trophy, went to Canada’s far north, paying $58,570 to hunt polar bears. Now it turns out, he may have killed the first grizzly-polar bear cross ever found in the wild. The two species mate at different times of the year and inhabit vastly different regions, hence cross-breeding is a rarity.
The animal he killed is being described by local Alaskan-Canadian media as a “pizzly,” a “grolar bear” or a “polargrizz.” Media reports described it as “looking” like an animal that could be the byproduct of a grizzly mating with a polar bear. Geneticists have documented that grizzly bears ventured north some 250,000 years ago to hunt seals and that their fur turned white over time. Thus, the polar bear was born.
But look at the above trophy photograph of the bear that Martell killed. Perhaps it was merely a dirty polar bear, after all?
A laboratory in western Canada will examine a sample of the bear’s DNA, and declare what the animal is. Martell is deeply interested in those results. His hunting license only allowed him to shoot polar bears, so he may be charged with shooting the wrong animal if this animal is found to not be a Ursus maritimus, according to the AFP news service.
DNA test results for this bear shot by Jim Martell on April 16 near Nelson Head on southern Banks Island, NWT, have concluded that the bear shot was indeed a rare hybrid, the first recorded polar-grizzly bear hybrid found in the wild.
The hide will be returned to Martell, who is already back in NWT on a grizzly hunt.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.