Polar bears are found in the Arctic regions of Canada, United States (Alaska), Norway, Greenland and Russia. These bears are classified as the largest carnivores on Earth, with the ability to smell their prey from 16 km away. Polar bears actually have black skin and transparent fur, which reflects light and helps them camouflage. 

(Image by Daisy Gilardini)

(Source National Geographic)



Polar bears utilize holes in the ice to catch their prey. The holes, referred to as “aglus”, allow seals to breathe and resurface onto the ice. Polar bears wait outside the aglus and catch seals as they come up for air. 

(Image by Daisy Gilardini)

(Source: Canadian Geographic)


 Despite their excellent swimming skills, polar bears rely on sea ice to survive. Since the early 2000s the loss of sea ice due to a warming climate has put pressures on polar bear survival. There are many discussions that polar bear ranges are changing as they rely more on solid ground in the absence of sea ice. This range shift is expanding polar bear extents into those of grizzly bears. 

(Image by Daisy Gilardini)

(Source: Pongracz et al. 2017)

Polar-Grizzly Hybrid

In 2006, a genetic test confirmed a hybrid individual crossed between a polar bear and grizzly bear. This confirms that there is some overlap of polar and grizzly ranges during mating seasons. Further research in 2016 confirmed the existence of 8 hybrid offspring. The offspring originated from one mother (polar bear) and two fathers (grizzly bears). Researchers speculated that it is more likely for this scenario (mother polar bear and father grizzly bear) to occur because male grizzly bears have increased ranges as they tend to disperse farther from their home range. As this hybridization occurred naturally it is not certain whether we will see an increase or decrease of wild “grolar bears” in the future. 

(Image by Klein & Hubert)

(Source: Pongracz et al. 2017 and WWF)