Spirit Bears

Pictures and information is from 'Canadian Wildlife' for educational purposes.



Spirit bears are rare, all-white species of black bear. First Nation communities that these bears have lived in British Columbia's northern coast for thousands of years.Legend has it that the spirit bear possesses super-natural powers that enables it to swim deep underwater This bear is not an albino but a subspecies of black bear, with ghostly pallor caused by a double-recessive gene. 

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The gene that causes black bears to have white coats is the same gene that produces blonde hair coats of golden retrievers. Most of the black coated bears in this area carry this recessive gene, but 2 are needed to produce a spirit bear.

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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.

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Thank you Inda for this nice post.



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kermode bear
Spiritbear.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Carnivora
Family:Ursidae
Genus:Ursus
Species:U. americanus
Subspecies:U. a. kermodei
Trinomial name
Ursus americanus kermodei
Hornaday, 1905

The Kermode bear (Ursus americanus kermodei), also known as the "spirit bear" (particularly in British Columbia), is a rare subspecies of the American black bear living in the Central and North Coast regionsof British Columbia, Canada.[1] It is the official provincial mammal of British Columbia.[2] It is noted for about 110 of their population having white or cream-coloured coats like polar bears. This colour is due to a double recessive gene unique in the subspecies. They are not albinos[1] and not any more related topolar bears or the "blonde" brown bears of Alaska's "ABC Islands" than other members of their species. Sometimes, a mother Black bear can have a white cub.

Fewer than 400 Kermode bears are estimated to exist in the coast area that stretches from Southeast Alaska southwards to the northern tip of Vancouver Island;[8] about 120 inhabit the large Princess and Prince Royal Island.[8] The largest concentration of the white bears inhabits 80-square-mile (210 km2)Gribbell Island, in the territory of the Gitga'ata people.[9]

The bear's habitat is potentially under threat from the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines, whose planned route passes near the Great Bear Rainforest.[10][11] Native groups including the Gitga'at have opposed the pipeline.[12]

From Wikkipedia

Like most black bears, the Spirit Bear only weighs about half a pound at birth, growing to 150-300 pounds when fully grown. The Kermode’s size averages between 4 and 6 feet. Height measured from paw to shoulders averages between 2 ½ and 3 feet.

Being omnivores, they mostly live on fish and berries, but also eat deer and moose fawns, carrion, insects, plants, fruits, nuts, mushrooms and nuts. They depend on salmon runs in the fall to fatten themselves up for the long winter hibernation, where they can go without food for up to 7 months.

Like black bears, their average life span is about 25 years.

Spirit_bear_500pxls

http://bcspiritbear.com/spirit-bear-facts/

Thank you all for your interesting replies.

The Kitasoo Xaixais people, who have lived with these bears for thousands of years, have a myth about the white bears that says “Raven made one in every ten black bears white to remind the people of a time when glaciers covered this land and how the people should be thankful of the lush and bountiful land of today.”  Many of the Kitasoo Xaixais believe the Spirit Bears hold super-natural powers, hence the name Spirit Bear – a name that suits its mythical like presence.

http://www.spiritbear.com/site...fe/spirit-bears.html

Bear mother with Spirit bear Cub

The Pacific Coast of BC is Home to World's only White Coloured Black Bears

The Spirit bear (Ursus americanus kermodei) or moskgm'ol (white bear), as called by the Tsimshian Coastal First Nations, is thought by scientists to be a genetic variation of the black bear that roams throughout British Columbia.

Thank you again Inda for sharing this topic. I love these bears.

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