Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Black Bear that's White

If you find yourself hiking the woods of coastal British Columbia, Canada there is a very slim chance that you might spot a bear that’s completely white. Although it may look like a small polar bear, what you’d actually be seeing is a Kermode bear, a rare subspecies of black bear.
Most Kermode bears look just like regular black bears. However, in this region and particularly on Princess Royal Island one in every ten Kermode bears is born white. Their stark white appearance against the green rainforest habitat has led to them being referred to by native peoples as “spirit bears”.

The Kermode bear’s white coloring is caused by a recessive gene; they are not albinos and are no more closely related to the polar bear than any other black bear.

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