The Spirit Bear Of Princess Royal Island
Off the rugged coast of British Columbia, the Spirit Bear resides. It is found only in a few central and northern islands where its numbers are estimated at fewer than one hundred. It is thought that the bear got its name from the First Nations people in the area who revered the animal and considered it a spiritual protector.
The Spirit Bear is not merely an albino as originally thought. Instead, the Spirit Bear is a Blond sub-species of the American Black Bear that came into being as a result of a double-recessive gene, some time as far back as the ice ages. More genetic testing is necessary to fully understand the origins and scientific history of this rare breed.
The creamy-white Spirit Bear, also known as the Kermode bear, lives in the dense rainforest, thriving on a rich diet of salmon, berries, insects, and greens. During the winter months when massive winter blizzards wrack the area, the Spirit Bear hibernates in the protection of giant trees, felled by age and weather. Here, as the sow hibernates, the cubs are born. Blind and helpless at birth, they remain safe in the den, until spring ends the hibernation period.
As the Spirit Bear depends for its survival on a plentiful supply of salmon, its future is uncertain. Much of the bear's original habitat has been logged. Roads built in the process give access for hunters and poachers. Hillsides cleared of logs, slip and slide downhill with heavy rainfalls and the silt clogs vital salmon streams. The Ecosystem of which the Spirit Bear is a part, include also other fish species, the wolf, the grizzly, and the eagle.
The efforts of Environmental Agencies have established ten conservancies for the protection of the Spirit Bear. Nevertheless, the ecosystem of the area is threatened by the dangers of continued logging and the threat of further intrusion by man into the home of this rare animal. If the salmon stocks disappear, so will the last of the Spirit Bears.
To see some magnificent pictures of this rare and magnificent bear go to - In Pictures: The Spirit Bear, the rare 'blond' black bear of Canada's western coast
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