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The Spirit Bear Of Princess Royal Island

Updated on December 14, 2020

Here your will learn more about the life and habits of this amazing animal

WHERE THE SPIRIT BEAR LIVES


Off the rugged coast of British Columbia, the Spirit Bear resides. It is found only on Princess Royal Island and possibly a few of the smaller surrounding islands. This area is composed of dense rain forest, rich in wildlife, and all the nourishment such life needs for survival. Although the actual number of Spirit Bears remaining, is unknown, it is estimated to be between one and four hundred.


WHAT KIND OF BEARS ARE THESE SPIRIT BEARS AND WHERE DID THEY GET THEIR NAME

It is thought that the bear got its name from the First Nations people of the area who revered the animal. They called the Spirit Bear 'moskgm"ol' and considered it a spiritual protector for the First Nations people.

The Spirit Bear is not a type of polar bear or an albino, as originally thought. It is instead a sub-species of the American Black Bear also known as the Kermode bear. The Kermode bear 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 the rare breed.

Although most Kermode bears are black, as is the American Black Bear, some are creamy white and remain so throughout their lives. These are the true Spirit Bears.


THE LIFE OF THE SPIRIT BEAR

The creamy-white Spirit Bear thrives on a diet rich in salmon. When these are not available, the bear survives as an omnivore, eating berries, insects, greens, small animals and even carrion.

When massive winter blizzards threaten to wrack the area, the Spirit Bear finds or builds a den, and hibernates under 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 brings an end to the period of hibernation. The cubs will then leave the den with their mother and search for salmon or other food to nourish their growing bodies.


THE DANGERS FACED BY THE SPIRIT BEAT

Although first nations peoples no longer consider the hunting of bears to be legal, such is not true of the general population. Black bears are routinely hunted and killed, and so the lives of Spirit Bears are put into peril as are the other species that share the Spirit Bears ecosystem - eagles, other types of bears, wolves, and many small species.

Because the Spirit Bear depends for its survival on a plentiful supply of salmon, its future could be uncertain. Much of the bear's original habitat has already been logged. Roads built in the process give access to hunters and poachers, who consider all bears as fair game. Hillsides cleared of logs turn into mud slides and in heavy rainfalls slip downhill clogging vital salmon streams with silt.


WHAT HAS BEEN DONE TO ENSURE THE SURVIVAL OF THE SPIRIT BEAR

Though its numbers have dwindled, the Spirit Bear is not yet considered an endangered species. Nevertheless, through the efforts of Environmental Agencies, ten conservancies have been established for the protection of the Spirit Bear.

However, the ecosystem of the area remains threatened. Logging continues throughout the area as man intrudes further and further into the home of this rare and beautiful animal. If the clogging of streams continues and salmon stocks diminish, the bears face further danger. Grizzlies, also threatened by diminishing salmon stocks may inadvertently wander into Spirit Bear terrain. Grizzlies are larger and stronger than Spirit bears so they could present a further threat to the survival of the amazing Spirit Bear. It has been suggested that ecotourism may be the key to helping these wonderful animals survive.


DID YOU KNOW?

The Spirit Bear is the provincial animal of British Columbia.




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

Comments

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    • billips profile imageAUTHOR

      billips 

      9 years ago from Central Texas

      Thank you for your comments Deborah - fortunately the spirit bear lives in a very isolated area, which I hope is enough to protect it for many years to come - B.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 

      9 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      wow I really learned something from this HUB.. you taught me a lot. actually i thought it was a made up bear. but you have shown me all about the bear.the bear is beautiful.

      I voted up

      Debbie

    • billips profile imageAUTHOR

      billips 

      9 years ago from Central Texas

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment Canadianlady - it would be wonderful to see a spirit bear in the wild but I think they are no doubt better off without us - B.

    • profile image

      canadianlady 

      9 years ago

      I really enjoyed this hub, I have heard of the Sprit Bear but have never seen a picture.. Thank you so much

    • Maralexa profile image

      Marilyn Alexander 

      9 years ago from Vancouver, Canada

      Thanks for the great hub, billips! Are they not the most beautiful of bears! One of the reasons they still exist is because the BC coast First Nations people never hunted the bear nor spoke of its existence.

      BC and Canada are doing a great job a protecting the bears, now. The Kermode bear is an icon of British Columbia.

      Thanks for your hub. I value the reminder of how important our wildlife is.

    • Mrs. Menagerie profile image

      Mrs. Menagerie 

      9 years ago from The Zoo

      Wow...great hub and photos!!!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      11 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Thanks for this informative hub. The pictures of the Spirit Bear are great. Hope that they survive man's encroachment.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      11 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      What a fantastic 'find!' I certainly hope they remain in this world...

    • DonnaCSmith profile image

      Donna Campbell Smith 

      12 years ago from Central North Carolina

      Interesting hub. We have black bear in NC, I had not heard of this subspecies. (BTW, I couldn't get the link to the pictures to work.)

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 

      12 years ago from Australia

      Like most of the above I had not heard of this species of bear and I would love to see the pictures via a link. If you need any help just yell out :-)

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 

      12 years ago from Canada

      Great info - are you, by chance, a fellow Northwest Coaster?

    • C.S.Alexis profile image

      C.S.Alexis 

      12 years ago from NW Indiana

      Just a suggestion for a newbie friend....why don't you make the photo address at the end of this hub in to a link for easier access? You can do that in the edit mode on the right hand side of the page where it says add text, photo, revenue and so on.

      This was very interesting and I have never heard of the spirit bear so you taught me something. I like that!

    • doodlebugs profile image

      Nolen Hart 

      12 years ago from Southwest

      Thanks for this great hub. I learned something I never knew.

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