Kermode Bear – Canada’s Spirit Bear

Kermode Bear

Kermode Bear

Just recently Steve Kozlowski, a wildlife photographer for 18 years, captured this amazing photo of a Kermode Bear. The Kermode Bears are otherwise known as the Spirit Bear or Ursus americanus kermodei. They are rarely seen, as their habitat has been diminishing for years. The photographer caught this just outside of his tent.

The Tsimshian people  of Western Canada called this bear “Moksgm’ol” - which roughly translates to “white bear”. The term “Spirit Bear” was likely chosen by First Nations tradition, which believe the white bears were to be left untouched and protected.  The Spirit Bear is not a Polar Bear, nor an Albino, as the Spirit Bears have brown noses and brown eyes. TheSpirit Bear Cub Spirit Bears are a subspecies of the North American Black Bear. Their colour is caused by a recessive gene which causes their coat to be a beautiful pale cream colour, with occasional tinges of yellow or orange on their backs. Zooligists believe 1/10 of the Spirit Bears are born with white fur. These Spirit bears are omnivores, they feed primarily on berries, greens, and salmon.

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Scientists call this species an “umbrella” species. If a large enough ecosystem for these bears can be protected, countless other species will benefit from it as well. Including Salmon, Wolves, Grizzlies, Birds, etc. The Spirit Bears have lived in the Pacific Northwest Rainforest for thousands of years, with the largest observed population being right near Princess Royal Island.Kermode Bear They are in danger of losing their habitat, which will pose a significant threat to their population. This once massive forest has been shrinking yearly, due to urbanization and logging which has been increasing lately. It is currently estimated that there are only a few hundred remaining Spirit Bears left in British Columbia.

For those of you wishing to help protect the Spirit Bears habitat, check out Raincoast, They are a non-profit team of conservationists and scientists dedicated to protecting the lands, waters and wildlife of the Great Bear Rainforest. Email them and ask how you can help.

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6 Responses to “Kermode Bear – Canada’s Spirit Bear”

  1. Dave and Deb
    June 13, 2009 at 6:51 pm #

    Wow, great post. I didn't even know that this bear existed. I am going to look into Raincoast and see how we can help. We are losing so much habitat to urban sprawl. etc. That is crazy that there are less of these bears than the Panda, and yet we never hear about them in the media.

  2. Scott
    June 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm #

    This is a pretty big thing here in BC to actually see current photographs of a Spirit Bear. It's estimated only a couple hundred of these bears are alive and if you even happen to meet one, it's said you are blessed with incredible good fortune.

  3. Corbin
    June 16, 2009 at 6:08 pm #

    @ Dave & Deb – Thanks, they're an amazing animal. It's so strange that an animal that large has remained hidden from the majority of peoples eyes. I'd love to see one someday. There is one tour company that heads out there, but its like a luxary sailing trip. 2 grand + from what I remember. Seems kind of expensive. Plus the more people out there, the more their habitat gets messed up. Maybe I'll luck out camping or something.

    @ Scott – I remember hearing about the good luck they're suppoesd to give you when I was a kid. I could use some sweet Bear luck right now. I'm stupid broke. lol. Hows the trip coming along? You guys leave soon n'est pas?

  4. valerie M
    March 12, 2010 at 4:33 pm #

    Heyy i love spirit bears!
    lol there soo cute(:
    well ill be backk!!LOL

  5. Black bear
    July 9, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

    Due to global warming, black bears are starting to move more to the north, and often leads to mating between black and polar bears, which leads to a white bear that looks like black.
    .-= Black bear´s last blog ..American Black Bear- Livestock and crop predation =-.

    • Corbin
      July 11, 2010 at 6:54 pm #

      Sounds interesting, bears rock.

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