The Spirit Bear
Spirit bears actually come from a small community of bears called Kermodes, which are a subspecies of black bears. Kermode bears may be black or white, but they all carry the recessive gene for white fur. 10% of Kermodes will fully express the recessive gene, and will be born with white or cream-coloured fur. These bears are known as spirit bears.
Spirit bears have a special significance among local Native tribes. The Tsimshian of the Gitga’at community refer to the spirit bear as Moksgm’ol, or Ghost Bear, and consider it to be symbolic of the spirit of the rainforest.
Because their white fur makes them less visible from the perspective of the fish, spirit bears tend to be 30% better at catching salmon than their black relatives. As a result, they tend to eat salmon almost exclusively, whereas their black relatives have a more omnivorous diet.
There are approximately 200 spirit bears living in the Great Bear Rainforest, and they exist nowhere else on earth. Their survival depends entirely on the preservation of the Great Bear Rainforest and fragile marine ecosystem which supports all life in the area.
For more information on the spirit bear and how to protect it, please visit http://www.spiritbearyouth.org.