Warming Arctic brings invasion of southern species
by Ed Struzik
Grizzly bears mating with polar bears and exotic diseases making their way into once-isolated
polar realms are just two of the effects of soaring Arctic temperatures
This bear’s body, neck and face suggest it may be a grizzly-polar bear hybrid, or ‘grolar’, living in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. Photograph: Steven Kazlowski/Corbis
Scientist John England was flying in the High Arctic last summer when he spotted something large moving on a tiny island in the Beaufort Sea, not far from the Alaska-Yukon border. When he and the helicopter pilot moved in to get a closer look, they were astounded to see a grizzly bear prowling the shoreline.
What this brown bear was doing in the kingdom of its white cousin is not entirely clear. But a week later when I joined England in the field, we found the tracks of the animal leading to a partially excavated den. It was obvious that the bear had no intention of going back to the mainland.