It is suspected that the gene came to prominence during the last Ice Age. Back the glaciers covered the Pacific Northwest, isolating a bear population an ice-free strip of coastline where inbreeding would have helped increase the frequency of this particular gene. Several conservation groups press for greater protection for the spirit bear. Salmon in the waters is declining and the change in diet could have a major impact on the population. It could be that one of the Earth's rarest creatures is about to become even rarer.The spirit bear is traditionally seen as a transformative figure, a giver of good fortune and power to those to whom it appears. It seems only fitting that if the bear's population continues to fall, our luck may disappear with it.