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National Geographic team seeks Polar Grizzly Bear hybrid

Industry: Environment

A National Geographic film crew in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge may have captured the first known footage of a living, wild hybrid Polar/Grizzly Bear.

Kaktovik, Alaska (PRUnderground) June 12th, 2014

A team of researchers may have found a living hybrid Polar Bear/ Grizzly Bear.  National Geographic Expedition Team Members, Jason Matthews, Patrick Kligel and Casey Anderson have been on an expedition to the Arctic in hopes of filming a living, wild, hybrid between the two bears.  Funded by the National Geographic Society and filmed for the National Geographic Channel, Arctic Explorer Jason Matthews, Emmy Award winning cameraman Patrick Kligel, and TV personality Casey Anderson spent last fall in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in search of a Hybrid Polar/Griz, called by Anderson and the show’s producers a “Super Bear”.

The project is for an episode of a new show on the National Geographic Channel airing this August.  The show, “Die Trying” follows teams of scientist and adventurers on quests to some of the earth’s wildest locations doing wildlife research.

Kligel has made a career of filming in the planet’s harshest climates.  He has been a camera-operator on “Deadliest Catch” filmed in the Bering Sea, “Whale Wars” filmed in Antarctica, and “Ice- Road Truckers” filmed throughout Arctic Alaska and Canada.  Matthews is considered an expert on Arctic travel, culture and wildlife by National Geographic, and leads dog sled tours and Polar Bear watching safari’s as well as trips to Denali and Yellowstone National Parks for National Geographic and other organizations.  Casey Anderson is well known for his work on television and for the orphaned Grizzly Bear, Brutus that he raised from a cub.

Hybrid crosses between Polar and Grizzly Bears have been in the news recently as an indicator of Climate Change, and two of the animals have been killed by hunters in recent years in Canada.  However, no footage of a living, wild hybrid has been previously documented.  The team filmed several ”unique bears” and also obtained hair samples for DNA testing from several bears. Dr. Beth Shapiro  of the University of California- Santa Cruz consulted with and directed the team from her office while they were in the field. The results of the expedition will be aired later this summer.  The show is hosted by Casey Anderson, of National Geographic’s America the Wild.

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