Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ursus americanus kermodei

Dee and Cal missed seeing the Kermode bear (Ursus americanus kermodei)), which fascinatingly is a subspecies of the American Black Bear. They are neither albino nor related to polar bears, nor the "blond" brown bears of Alaska's "ABC Islands". This color variant is due to a unique recessive trait in their gene pool, and about 1/10th of their population have white or cream-colored coats. From what I can tell, they are found only in central British Columbia.

Because of their ghost-like appearance, "spirit bears" hold a prominent place in the Canadian First Nations/ American Indian mythology of the area. (See also Touching Spirit Bear.)

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