The spirit bear AKA the Kermode bear is a subspecies of the North American black bear with a rare recessive gene that makes its fur white or cream.
This bear is named after Francis Kermode, a provincial museum worker who was among the first to discover the furry fellows
The spirit bears can sometimes be confused as albino due to their white fur but in fact they are not, they still have pigment in their skin and eyes, which wouldn’t be the case with albinos, and only have a single mutant gene that causes their rare colouration.
See one of these rare spirit bears below:
The spirit bear is almost exclusively found in the Great Bear Rainforest, a 6.4m ha ecosystem on British Columbia’s north and central coast (Canada), it is actually the worlds largest intact temperature rainforest.
It boasts a vast network of mist-shrouded fjords, densely forested islands and glacier-capped mountains. The perfect (and only) location to catch the spirit bear in the wild.
Like their relatives, they snuggle down for winter. They lounge in a den, under a tree or among fallen tree roots. Gigantic cedars provide the ideal home.
It is estimated that spirit bear population numbers are no more than 400 individuals, making them extremely rare, only one in ten black bears are pale.
For a snack, a Kermode will eat plants. It eats berries when available and salmon is a key part of their diet. During certain months, salmon is plentiful in the rivers throughout the Kermode range; although, human activity in some locations has harmed salmon populations.
The spirit bears play a key role in the ecosystem, contributing to the growth of the forest by spending marine nutrients, they carry salmon carcasses into the forest where the oceans nutrients are then absorbed by the forest floor.
The spirit bear is recognised as a prominent Native American symbol and is designated as the official animal of British Columbia.