Sep 20, 2016

10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Rare and Elusive Spirit Bear

white fur black bear spirit kermode bear 2 10 Things You Didnt Know About the Rare and Elusive Spirit Bear

 

1. The Spirit or Kermode Bear is a rare subspecies of the American black bear living in the Central and North Coast regions of British Columbia, Canada. [source]

 

2. The colour is due to a double recessive gene unique in the subspecies (Ursus americanus kermodei). They are not albinos, they are white-furred black bears. [Source]

 

3. Fewer than 400 Spirit/Kermode bears are estimated to exist in the coast area that stretches from Southeast Alaska southwards to the northern tip of Vancouver Island; about 120 inhabit the large Princess and Prince Royal Island. The largest concentration of the white bears inhabits 80-square-mile Gribbell Island, in the territory of the Gitga’at. [Source]

 

white fur black bear spirit kermode bear 5 10 Things You Didnt Know About the Rare and Elusive Spirit Bear

Photograph by Maximilian Helm

 

4. Like most black bears, the Spirit Bear only weighs about half a pound at birth! [Source]

 

5. A male Spirit bear can reach 225 kg (500 lb) or more, females are much smaller with a maximum weight of 135 kg (300 lb). Straight up, it stands 180 cm (5′ 11″) tall. [Source]

 

6. They are known to run up to 55 km an hour! [Source]

 

white fur black bear spirit kermode bear 4 10 Things You Didnt Know About the Rare and Elusive Spirit Bear

Photograph by Maximilian Helm

 

7. The bear was named after Francis Kermode, a former director of the Royal B.C. Museum. He was among the first to discover the furry fellows. [Source]

 

8. 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. [Source]

 

9. Scientists have found that black bears are not as effective at catching fish as white bears, as the white bears are less visible from the perspective of the fish. At night, the two colours of bears have similar success rates at catching fish, but during the day, the white bears are up to 30% more effective. [Source]

 

10. The Spirit/Kermode Bear is the official provincial mammal of British Columbia, Canada. [Source]

 

white fur black bear spirit kermode bear 3 10 Things You Didnt Know About the Rare and Elusive Spirit Bear

Photograph by Jon Rawlinson

 

Sources

BC Spirit Bear: Spirit Bear Facts
Wikipedia: Kermode Bear
Canadian Geographic: Animal Facts – Kermode bear
Smithsonian: This Rare, White Bear May Be the Key to Saving a Canadian Rainforest

 

white fur black bear spirit kermode bear 1 10 Things You Didnt Know About the Rare and Elusive Spirit Bear

Photograph by Jackmont

 

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