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Thread: The Spirit Bear, the rare 'blonde' black bear of Canada's western coast

  1. #1
    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    Dec 2006

    Default The Spirit Bear, the rare 'blonde' black bear of Canada's western coast

    It may look like a polar bear that has ventured too far south - but these once-in-a-lifetime photographs are of the extremely rare Spirit Bear.
    Once thought to exist only in Native American mythology, the Spirit Bear, or Kermode Bear, is now recognised as an off-shoot of the American Black Bear population that lives in the lush coastal forests of British Columbia.

    Spotted: The Spirit Bear, a 'blonde' subspecies of the black bear

    The blonde Kermode Bear - a mother - goes fishing with her cub, a black bear
    Amongst wildlife photographers it is considered rare if not virtually impossible to photograph one of these blonde, or white black bears, due to their scarcity.
    One such photographer was Steve Kozlowski, who travelled along Canada's wild Pacific coast to catch a glimpse of these legendary beasts.
    'I set out to travel to the last area where a small population of Spirit Bears is known to exist near Princess Royal Island on the British Columbia coastline,' says Steve, 39, who has been photographing wildlife for the past 18 years.
    'After convincing the tour group I was travelling with to drop me off in a remote area, I set up my tent near a stream where I thought the bears might feed.

    The bear, shown here again with her cub, is part of an extremely rare sub-species of black bear
    'Over the course of five days I caught only fleeting glimpses of them.'
    Losing faith, on the fifth evening Steve had a terrifying encounter with one bear.
    'I emerged from my tent and was confronted with a Spirit Bear,' explains Steve.
    'The bear was startled and it charged at me over a log, its hair up, ears back, snapping its jaws.
    'I slowly backed away and it eventually left.'
    Unperturbed by his close call, Steve believed that this was his chance to photograph the bear in its natural environment.

    Mother and baby were caught by a camera hidden by a blind
    'I built a camera blind and kept hidden so that the bear became more comfortable with me as I kept a safe distance,' he said.
    'To observe the bear in the wild was a pleasure.'
    Explaining that the Spirit Bear is not albino as many people would first think, Steve says that it is as near to blonde as a bear will ever get.
    'Very few people have even seen one of these bears,' says Steve.
    'Nearly 60 per cent of the world's coastal temperate rainforests have been logged or developed. The Spirit Bear's habitat represents one-quarter of what remains.
    'It is essential that we put in place moves to protect these extraordinary animals.'

    In pictures: The Spirit Bear, the rare 'blonde' black bear of Canada's western coast | Mail Online

  2. #2
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    fellow traveller


    wow, beautiful pictures.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

  3. #3
    Elite Member qwerty's Avatar
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    Nov 2007


    That is a beautiful animal.

  4. #4
    Elite Member calcifer's Avatar
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    Nov 2008


    i love the baby bear.

  5. #5
    smf is offline
    Gold Member smf's Avatar
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    Sep 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by qwerty View Post
    That is a beautiful animal.
    bears are so cool lookin ,makes you want to pet em ,bad idea of course

  6. #6
    Elite Member BITTER's Avatar
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    Mar 2009


    You guys, are like, so DUMB!!!

    That's Nick Nolte.

  7. #7
    Gold Member sharky's Avatar
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    Mar 2009


    It does look like a "Spirit Bear".

  8. #8
    Elite Member Nevan's Avatar
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    Jul 2008


    Awww, she's so cute.

  9. #9
    Silver Member mama mia's Avatar
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    Dec 2008


    Amazing!!!! Beautiful bears!
    mama mia*
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. - William Arthur Ward

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