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The Spirit Bear Of Princess Royal Island

Updated on March 25, 2011

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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    • billips profile imageAUTHOR


      6 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 

      6 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


    • billips profile imageAUTHOR


      6 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


      6 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 

      7 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

      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 

      7 years ago from The Zoo

      Wow...great hub and photos!!!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 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 

      9 years ago from Bishop, Ca

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

    • DonnaCSmith profile image

      Donna Campbell Smith 

      9 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


      9 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


      9 years ago from Canada

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

    • C.S.Alexis profile image


      9 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


      9 years ago from Southwest

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


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