January 28, 2009

THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS SPECIES:

Plight of the pizzly bear: A leading filmmaker tells the story behind the discovery and cruel fate of the grizzly–polar bear (Mark Fletcher, 28th January 2009, Daily Mail)

There is on average one polar bear per 500 square miles. Even for the most active polar bear, finding a mate must be a problem.

For one lonely female, though, there was a very unusual solution. Her chosen mate was an awesome creature - most likely 8ft tall, weighing over 50st and capable of running at 35mph, with 9in claws and a very short temper.

And strangest of all, in contrast to her snowy white fleece, he had a rich-brown coat. For her mate was not a polar bear at all. He was a grizzly.

In normal circumstances, the paths of these two species never cross.

Grizzlies live far from the Arctic hunting grounds of their polar cousins. And even if some freak occurrence led to a female polar and a male grizzly meeting in the wild, the laws of nature would have dictated that they would run away at the sight of each other.

But in this case, at least, a rather more unusual course of action unfolded. And the result was a biological marvel: the birth of the first naturally born 'pizzly bear'.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 28, 2009 2:33 PM
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