As climate changes bring a series of changes in the planet's biodiversity, from habitats that become hostile, to mass deaths of animals. However, a side and unexpected effect of global warming it is the emergence of hybrid species in nature, as is the case with grolar bears, the mixture of polar bears and brown bears. 

This exotic species, also known as pizzly bear, was first seen in the wild in 2006, but with rising temperatures and melting glaciers, the population of these animals has increased. This is because the habitats of the two species, which used to be quite different, have overlapped in more and more places. 

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While the heat closer to Ecuador has pushed brown bears to the north, polar bears, who live in the Arctic, are descending to Ecuador in search of food, as the ice in their natural habitat has melted faster and faster and the biggest predators on the North Pole have run out of food options. 

Opportunistic mating 

Apparently, the mating of different species has not occurred exactly by chance, with the indication that polar bears and brown bears are practicing opportunistic mating. A 2017 study documented that at least eight grizzly bears were the offspring of just one polar bear female and two grizzly bears. 

"We have known about pizzlies for some time, but their occurrence may be more common with the ongoing Arctic warming," said Larisa DeSantis to the American portal Gizmodo. "Polar bears are increasingly having to look for other sources of food when seal hunting on sea ice becomes unsustainable," adds DeSantis.

Melting Arctic ice is leaving polar bears without food in their habitat. Credit: Paul Nicklen

Larisa DeSantis comments that brown and polar bears have in common the fact that they gather in places with whale carcasses. And since their relationship is relatively recent, with a ancestral common dating from around 500 thousand years, they manage to reproduce, just as with lions and tigers, for example. 

However, researchers still do not know whether these hybrids are able to survive in the wild or reproduce with each other or with their predecessors. Everything should depend on how each of the three species, both the “pure” and the hybrid, will react to the habitat provided by climate change. 

With information Gizmodo 

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