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Grizzlies set to invade high Arctic?

ce in the Arctic from the Beaufort Sea to Hudson Bay. They're also known to be able to survive the winter and den on Victoria Island, the island separated from Melville to the north by Viscount Melville Sound.

The geologists, now bitten with the grizzly bear research, emphasize that they are not wildlife biology experts. Nonetheless, they say the discovery of a grizzly bear on Melville Island raises numerous issues. Could grizzlies move east to one day take up home on Ellesmere Island, in the heart of polar bear country? Could polar bears in the wild interbreed with brown bears, their evolutionary close cousins, as has occurred at least once in captivity? What impact will grizzlies, already known to prey on polar bear cubs, have on these northern bears?

For now, however, the greatest issue might be for the geologists themselves, says Dr. Jonathan Doupé, a postdoctoral researcher working with Dr. England.

"We have bear safety courses when we go up there, and people would normally say you don't have to worry about grizzlies because it's really just polar bear country," he says. "But I think that's no longer the case."

Dr. England notes that the grizzly bear find is a highly visible example of important changes occurring in the Arctic. "The Arctic is very large and diverse, and this complex but exciting environment is just coming into focus for Canadians in general. It's now a mainstream issue."


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Source:Eurekalert


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