ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Spirit Bear aka Kermode Bear aka Ghost Bear

Updated on August 7, 2012

The Spirit Bear aka Ghost Bear: The Other White Bear

Yes, there is another white bear. It's not a polar bear but in fact it is a rare subspecies of the Black Bear.

The beautiful Spirit Bear aka Ghost Bear was named after Frank Kermode the former director of the Royal B.C. Museum, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Read on to discover the myth and the mystery behind these beautiful white bears. You'll find photos, facts, videos and informational links and information on the efforts being made to save these magnificent bears.

Scientific classification of the Kermode Bear

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Ursidae

Genus: Ursus

Species: U. americanus

Subspecies: U. a. kermodei

Trinomial name

Ursus americanus kermodei

Hornaday, 1905

From Wikipedia

Spirit Bear

Spirit Bear
Spirit Bear

Kermode Bear or Ursus Americanus Kermodei

Both the white and black bears that are found on Canada's west coast make up this rare species. The white bear is also known as Spirit bear or Ghost bear.

Scientists don't know very much about the origins of this unique bear. No one yet has determine the true originations of the Kermode bear. It is thought by many scientists to have developed from a separate strain of coastal black bear that was cut off from populations of black bear inland.

It is still under speculation about why the Kermode bear, which has a unique recessive gene never found in any other mammal, is found only in these bears in a small area of the coast of Canada.

Kermit Kitland of the University of British Columbia studies the Kermode bears. The study,funded by Forest Renewal, British Columbia was to locate the origins of the Kermode's white gene and to determine if "a change in a single base pair of a recessive gene" stops the production of the pigments that make the bear's black and in turn produces a cream white cub.

Ritland found where the Kermode bears with the "white gene" appears most often: the large islands off the coastal mainland.

In the report, Ritland, also suggests that to maintain the healthy gene pool on these islands, that there need be a limited interaction with the inland black bears. That if a large influx of black bears were migrated or were moved from inland, the Kermode bear gene pool would become severely diluted thus ending the Kermode bear.

Kitasoo legend says...

Raven, the Creator, went among the bears and turned every tenth bear white to serve as a reminder of a time when the Earth's great glaciers covered the landscape.

Where Can You find Kermode Bears?

Kermode Bear Range

Canadian Geographic has some good information on the Kermode or Spirit Bear. Click the following photo for more information and a larger view of the Kermode Bear's range.

Spirit Bear Habitat

where do spirit bears or kermode bears live?

Kermode bears live on the Pacific Coast of British Columbia, Canada. Their range includes Prince Royal Island, Princess Royal, Pooley, Gribbell and Prince Rupert Island. The populations where the gene appears most often is Princess Royal, Pooley, and Gribbell. 1 out of every 10 bears on these islands are white.

The bears live in the islands rainforest known as the Great Bear Rainforest. It is one of the is the largest intact, unspoiled, coastal temperate rainforest left in the world.

Because the habitat for the Kermode bear was under threat from logging, in 2006 a series of conservancies stretching 250 miles along the coast of the Island were established. This protected area is twice the size of Yellowstone National Park. The area is home to not only the Spirit Bear but also to grizzly bears, cougars, wolves, and salmon.

On January 21, 2007, the Canadian government pledged to spend US$26m to protect this rainforest. Along with the pledge from British Columbia and donations, total funding for the reserve is $120 million.

Physical Characterics of the Kermode Bear

what do Kermode Bears look like?

Kermodes come in a variety of colors ranging from reddish, gray, yellow, orange. About 1 out of 10 are cream/white, which are the ones called Spirit or Ghost bears.

Due to a rare recessive gene, these bears who have white fur are not albino. Their eyes and nose are both brown not white as an albino would be. A white bear cub is the offspring of a male and female bear, each carrying that special gene.

They have 5 claws like all other bears and they are non-retractable.

Where a cub is born at about 1/2 pound, an adult can weigh up to 300 pounds.

In the Tsimshian language, the Spirit Bears are known as Moksgm'ol.

Birth Facts of the Kermode

How often Kermode Bears mate

Like the Black Bear, Spirit bears weigh about 1/2 pound when they are born. They give birth to 1 to 4 cubs (usually 2) in the Spring. They stay with their mothers for 2 years learning survival skills from her. The bears den in the hollows of old-growth trees.

In this photo, the Kermode bear has 2 black cubs.

What Kermode Bears Eat

What do kermode bears eat?

The main food source for the Kermode bears is salmon which makes up 95% of their food. the other 5% is made up of plants, fruits, nuts and insects.

Many of the Kermode bears have a yellowish tinge to their fur. This is thought to be the result of their high salmon diet.

Spirit Bear Video

Kermode Bears -- Black mom and white cub

I received the 2 photos below of the Black Bear Momma with her white cub some time last year. I was told they were taken in 2004 near Gordon, WI. Which would be highly unusual since the Kermode bear species are found only on Canada's west coast.

I wondered it they could these be distance cousins? However, I just found one of the pictures on a website that said they were taken in Terrance, British Columbia. This makes much more sense!

PHOTO UPDATE: Brian posted a comment with the story behind these photos. He said, "The black bear with white cub photo was taken in 2004, but from Manitoba not from BC or WI. There is an article in the International Bear News, 2004, vol 13 #4, a members newsletter for the International Association for Bear Research and Management (IBA). To summarize, the sow and white cub were first seen in June 2004 feeding on roadside garbage ini land between lake Winnipegosis and Cedar Lake, Manitoba. Photos were published, media hailed a 'rare albino' (though told it was likely not). The area became popular, with people bringing food to attract the bear, and on July 11 the mother was struck and killed by a vehicle.

"The cub was accepted by Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Zoo. The Chemawawin Cree Nation named it Maskwa (Cree for bear). Tests were run to determine if the cub had the same double-recessive coloration gene that make Kermode bears white, but I don't know the results of that test."

Thanks Brian!

Spirit Bears in City of Terrace, British Columbia

In the City of Terrace, a contest was held for local artists to use their artistic skills to decorate a Spirit Bear statue.

The spirit Bear statues can be found throughout Terrace and the local area. At the right is a photo or one and below are photos of two more.

Spirit Bear Mother in City of Terrace

Spirit Bear Mother in City of Terrace
Spirit Bear Mother in City of Terrace

Luna's Bear in City of Terrace

Luna's Bear in City of Terrace
Luna's Bear in City of Terrace

Spirit Bear - The Movie

Spirit Bear
Spirit Bear

A warm and inspiring movie about how 1 person can make a difference in saving a species - the Kermode or Spirit Bear. a must see to see these bear live.

 

Spirit Bear Book - A must have for the bear lover

Spirit Bear: Encounters with the White Bear of the Western Rainforest
Spirit Bear: Encounters with the White Bear of the Western Rainforest

This is an amazing book. The author spent a year on Prince Royal Island with the Turners who were filming the bears. His book is the first-hand account of this year of living with these beautiful bears.

 

More Books about the Spriit Bear for your Reading Pleasure

Spirit Bears in danger by oil company - The remaining 400 Kermode aka Spirit Bears in danger

The remaining 400 Kermode Bears aka Spirit Bears are endangered by big oil. Please watch this video then go to Save the Spirit Bear and voice your concerns.

Spirit Bear with Cubs - Courtesy of www.bearmatters.com

Spirit Bear with Cubs - Courtesy of www.bearmatters.com
Spirit Bear with Cubs - Courtesy of www.bearmatters.com
save our bears badge
save our bears badge

Member of Save Our Bears (SOB) Headquarters

Save Our Bears is a group of lenses devoted to help change the plight all of the 8 bear species through awareness and fund raising.

The lenses show the wonderful nature of bears and many will, at the same time, shine a spotlight on the dangers bears face including: trophy hunters, gall bladder and bile farming, pollution, bear baiting, global warming, and habitat destruction.

You'll also find fun lenses on great polar bear movies, books, teddy bears, even cartoon and toy bears.

Click Save Our Bears (SOB) to go to the headquarters page.

Spirit Bear courtesy of Wikipedia

Spirit Bear courtesy of Wikipedia
Spirit Bear courtesy of Wikipedia

This Lens Honored With A Purple Star

 

Want to link to this lens? Here's how.

WANT TO LINK TO THIS PAGE?

Here's the HTML code to copy and paste:
The Spirit Bear aka Kermode Bear aka Ghost Bear

Copyright

This work is covered by copyright and can not be reprinted

in any matter (physical or digital) without prior written consent.

Copyright 2008-2012 Frankie Kangas All rights reserved.

Please use this guest book to share your thoughts about this lens. Thank you.

Guestbook for your feedback

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • HealthfulMD profile image

      Kirsti A. Dyer 8 years ago from Northern California

      Beautiful lens. Thank you for including the donation part to Heifer International so it can be added to the Month of Thanks Challenge.

    • profile image

      Oran-Kangas 8 years ago

      Another great bear lens, Frankie. Bear hugs to you too, Oran

    • naturegirl7s profile image

      Yvonne L. B. 8 years ago from Covington, LA

      Another great animal lens. Welcome to the Naturally Native Squids group. Don't forget to add your lens link to the appropriate plexo and vote for it.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 8 years ago from Royalton

      Another beary nice lens.

    • profile image

      CherylStoney 8 years ago

      What beautiful bears. Never heard of them before but am glad I know about them now. Thanks for all you do for the bears!

    • profile image

      lifecellcream1 8 years ago

      Wow. Great job on these beautiful bears.

    • profile image

      kautagne 8 years ago

      Wow! Keep up the excellent work Frankie! Another fabulous 5 star lens, and a great addition to my "favorites".

    • profile image

      Christobal 8 years ago

      cool lens. i didn't know much about spirit bears before this... we're gonna also check out the movie about spirit bears that you have here. thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      we are doing a report on theme for a book

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      The black bear with white cub photo was taken in 2004, but from manitoba not from BC or WI. There is an article in the International Bear News, 2004, vol 13 #4, a members newsletter for the International Association for Bear Research and Management (IBA). To summarize, the sow and white cub were first seen in June 2004 feeding on roadside garbage ini land between lake Winnipegosis and Cedar Lake, Manitoba. Photos were published, media hailed a 'rare albino' (though told it was likely not). The area became popular, with people bringing food to attract the bear, and on July 11 the mother was struck and killed by a vehicle. The cub was accepted by Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Zoo. The Chemawawin Cree Nation named it Maskwa (Cree for bear). Tests were run to determine if the cub had the same double-recessive coloration gene that make Kermode bears white, but I don't know the results of that test.

      You might consider the IBA's Bear Conservation Fund to support bear research?

    • Franksterk profile image
      Author

      Frankie Kangas 8 years ago from California

      [in reply to Brian] Brian, Thanks for the "rest of the story" as Paul Harvey would say. I included the info in the module above with the photos. Thanks again!

    • profile image

      Butch-1 8 years ago

      Hi this is Butch and I have a short video of a kermode Bear. My family got it last summer on the way to Terrace from Smithers.I was going to show it on a lens. Then I found this lens and if you contact me I can let you use it .Bruce Mackay

      mackaybruce@hotmail.com

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 7 years ago

      Blessings to YOU my dear! Squid Angel blessed today.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

      Beautiful lens. Blessed by a squidoo angel.

    • wilddove6 profile image

      wilddove6 7 years ago

      Thank you for a beautiful look at a magnificent bear!

      BC is my home territory

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      spirit bears r a rare subspecies of the american black bear, which needs to be protected and not hunted

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 7 years ago

      Ah, dropped by as the spirit was moving me today. Always loved this lens and wanted to take a moment to say HEY and thank you for everything. May you have a remarkable journey this year my dear. Happy new year and hugeroonies! ;)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Im just on here for a school thing...we are reading the book 'Touching Spirit Bear'...our teacher is making us look on this website to find information on "Spirit Bears".

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 7 years ago

      Wonderful lens! Blessed and enjoyed it!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Enjoyed the lens, thank you for putting it together.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

      Thanks for all you do to help bears. I'm sure you were heartbroken about the mother bear being killed by a vehicle. It's a sad story and shows why people should interfere as little as possible with wild animals.

    • profile image

      ZoeNature 6 years ago

      Such a beautiful lens! Thank you for sharing this wonderful info on the Spirit Bear!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      @anonymous: me too

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

      I had never heard of the Spirit or Ghost Bear. It's beautiful! How sad that the little bear was orphaned though.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      congrats for the purple.

    • Tagsforkids profile image

      Tagsforkids 6 years ago

      Wonderful lens. Conrats on a well deserved Purple Star!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 6 years ago

      Congrats, Great Purple Star lens! Wonderful images on this lens and very interesting information...We had the White Buffalo born in our town...

    • SylviaRolfe profile image

      SylviaRolfe 6 years ago

      You are obviously an animal lover, kudos for a great lens. I love animals too, that's why I am trying to shut down this "zoo" http://www.squidoo.com/shut-down-guzoo

    • imolaK profile image

      imolaK 6 years ago

      Another great and informative lens! Blessed!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 6 years ago

      Very interesting - NOT an albino! Thanks for this educational lens.

    • profile image

      onlinemba 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing such useful information

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      Congrats on your Purple Star! Very interesting lens. Thanks for educating us all about the uniqueness of the Spirit Bear. Beautiful creature that deserves our protection. *Blessed*

    • rangiiria profile image

      rangiiria 5 years ago

      This lens deserves a purple star. Well done :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      My class used this site for facts on anmals. THIS SITE ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      celeBritys4africA 5 years ago

      I discover new things, a very informative lens.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 5 years ago from United States

      What a beautiful bear!!! I have never seen one in real life. That picture with the momma and cub is adorable! The Spirit Bear momma with her cubs looks so proud and happy. Blessed

    • profile image

      Terrie_Schultz 5 years ago

      Beautiful lens! I love these bears.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      beautiful lens, thanks

    • ismeedee profile image

      ismeedee 5 years ago

      What beautiful creatures! I'd never heard of them before and this lens is so informative with lovely photos and videos! Let's hope these bears don't disappear before more people get to learn about them!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 5 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      It is fascinating to learn about the Spirit Bear or Kermode Bear. How interesting that they are indigenous to just one area of the world.

    • Shana rios Chavez profile image

      Shana rios Chavez 5 years ago

      Great lens I learned a lot!!! thanks

    • profile image

      Pineapple-Princess 5 years ago

      Wow great lens....Interesting how different varieties of a species can arise....Kinda makes teddy bears a little more realistic(they come in many shades).

    • profile image

      JustOneGuy 5 years ago

      Very fascinating lens. I had no idea that such bears even existed. Instead of stopping that pipeline from going through the rainforest, why not make the penalties for oil spills extreme, with the company having to place enough money into a special account to cover the worst case scenario. The money (rather, just the interest on the fund) would be used for this specific geographic area and for the protection and study of these bears and to help care for them. It would seem that since they are pretty much identical to other black bears, wouldn't it be possible to populate other areas with these same bears, thus expanding the geography they are found in? The money which the disaster fund would earn could be used for this. The only thing I'd worry about is the politicians somehow getting hold of the fund and using it for other things or simply stealing it. As political administrations change, permission to build the pipeline will be given behind closed doors, it's just a matter of time. Better to get the money to protect the bears before it's too late. Just a thought. Thanks for the great lens.

    • MGuberti profile image

      MGuberti 5 years ago

      Those bears are interesting!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Glad to run into you this morning! *blessed*

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      A Squidoo Quest (International Polar Bear Day) popped up and the first person I thought of was you. Your devotion to bears is obvious in everything I have read of yours . . keep 'em coming. Take good care, Rose

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      Came back to google +1 this gem. Belated congrats for a well-deserved purple star for this too!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 5 years ago

      Thank you for all your bear work! I'm pinning this on pinterest/pmbc

    • shandigp profile image

      shandigp 5 years ago

      What beautiful creatures, the spirit bears. Now I want to see a lens on spirit bear art such as the statues above. Well designed lens, too. *Squid Blessed!*

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 5 years ago

      Beautifully done! Really enjoyed learning about this bear and also the photos.

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 5 years ago from Maryland

      I've heard of Spirit Bears...they are beautiful! ;)

    • Kathryn Beach profile image

      Kathryn Beach 5 years ago

      Love love love this lens, no surprise that it's from the Frankster :)

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      What beautiful creatures - thank you so much for sharing them with us! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have always loved the Bear Kind. Moksgm'ol is My Favorite. Many thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      what bueiteful bear i would hate to see it get killed and die of the oiel spil if it does i want to give then a pice of my mind

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      every time i help my brother with his homework im willing to learn more things like abou this statement about kermode bears

    • bushaex profile image

      Stephen Bush 4 years ago from Ohio

      Thank you for the important information and insights about the Spirit Bear.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I think this is the first time that I have heard of the Kermode Bear and sure enjoyed learning about this unusual bear.

    • profile image

      mason 2 years ago

      nice but you should put more videos

    Click to Rate This Article