kermode bear PHOTOS

 
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Kermode Bear Pictures Showing The White Bear Known as the Spirit Bear or Ghost Bear

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The Kermode bear, Ursus americanus kermodei, is also known as the Spirit Bear or Ghost Bear, because of its rarity and the unique feature that around 10% of the population are born with a white coat. They are a subspecies of the American Black Bear, Ursus americanus, and scientists believe that Kermode bears evolved over the last 10,000 years from black bears that became isolated more than 300,000 years ago. The white coat is caused by a recessive gene - the bears are not albino nor are they related to polar bears. Where an albino would have a white nose and light-colored eyes, a Kermode bear has a brown nose and eyes. They may appear white, cream-colored, orange, gold, or gray, though most of them are totally black. The Kermode bear was named in 1905 in honor of Francis Kermode, a zoologist who conducted the first studies into the origins of these bears.

Kermode bears live exclusively in the temperate rainforest region off the Pacific coast of British Columbia, Canada, a region that includes the Great Bear Rain Forest and a handful of adjacent islands. The greatest population is found on Princess Royal Island. The total population is estimated to be 1200 individuals. They are so rare that people who live in the region rarely see them. The Spirit Bears hold a prominent place in the mythology of the area’s native indigenous peoples, Tsimshiam, who call them Moksgm’ol. According to their legends, once the world was covered in ice and snow. Then the raven, the creator of the world, came down and turned the world green. But as a reminder of the time when all was white, the raven turned every tenth bear the color of snow. The raven decreed that the Moksgm'ol, would live forever in peace.

Peace for the Kermode bear may not be sustainable. Princess Royal Island is the center of a struggle between conservationists and loggers, who have already cleared away vast tracts of the 10,000 year old forest. In 2006 the government of British Columbia announced the Kermode bear as British Columbia’s official animal, and wrote up the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement which limited the scope of the logging somewhat, but still provided no legal protection for the bears. Logging, and other environmental problems have caused them and their habitats to be put into danger. Each day, their homes are destroyed, making it harder and harder for these great bears to survive. As a result, the Kermode bear is facing eventual extinction .

Kermode bears feed primarily on salmon, with the addition of plants, berries, nuts and insects. Salmon is important to them as it helps them put on the stored fat necessary for hibernation. Like other black bears, they are slow to reproduce. They hibernate from November to March, usually in hollow trees, and the females give birth to between one to four cubs while in hibernation. They weigh about half a pound at birth and will remain with their mothers until they are around two years old. As an adult, they will reach a weigh of up to 300 pounds.

Kermode bears are not aggressive, and tend to avoid humans whenever possible. A mother protecting cubs may react defensively, but otherwise they are not considered a danger to humans.

 

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Picture of a Kermode bear, spirit bear, ghost bear, Ursus americanus kermodei, sow in a stream in the rainforest of the central British Columbia coast, Canada

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Image of a Kermode bear, spirit bear, ghost bear, Ursus americanus kermodei, with black cubs in the rainforest of the central British Columbia coast, Canada

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Stock photo of a Kermode bear, spirit bear, ghost bear, Ursus americanus kermodei, sow with cub catching fish in river, rainforest area of the central British Columbia coast, Canada

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Picture of a Kermode bear, spirit bear, ghost bear, Ursus americanus kermodei, wading in a river, rainforest area of the central British Columbia coast, Canada

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Picture of a Kermode bear, spirit bear, ghost bear, Ursus americanus kermodei, in the rainforest of the central British Columbia coast, Canada

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Image of a Kermode bear, spirit bear, ghost bear, Ursus americanus kermodei, sow walking along a log in the rainforest of the central British Columbia coast, Canada

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Stock photo of a Kermode bear, spirit bear, ghost bear, Ursus americanus kermodei, sow in the rainforest of the central British Columbia coast, Canada

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Picture of a Kermode bear, spirit bear, ghost bear, Ursus americanus kermodei, sow in the rainforest of the central British Columbia coast, Canada

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Picture of a Kermode bear, spirit bear, ghost bear, Ursus americanus kermodei, in the rainforest of the central British Columbia coast, Canada

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Image of a Kermode bear, spirit bear, ghost bear, Ursus americanus kermodei, sow scenting the air in the rainforest of the central British Columbia coast, Canada

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Stock photo of a Kermode bear, spirit bear, ghost bear, Ursus americanus kermodei, sow in a creek with a salmon in its mouth in the rainforest of the central British Columbia coast, Canada

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Picture of a Kermode bear, spirit bear, ghost bear, Ursus americanus kermodei, sow in the rainforest of the central British Columbia coast, Canada

Picture #: 053364

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Picture of a Kermode bear, spirit bear, ghost bear, Ursus americanus kermodei, sow with cub walking on a log at high tide, rainforest area of the central British Columbia coast, Canada

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Image of a Kermode bear, spirit bear, ghost bear, Ursus americanus kermodei, sow on the central British Columbia coast, Canada

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Stock photo of a Kermode bear, spirit bear, ghost bear, Ursus americanus kermodei, sow in the rainforest of the central British Columbia coast, Canada

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Picture of a Kermode bear, spirit bear, ghost bear, Ursus americanus kermodei, sow in the rainforest of the central British Columbia coast, Canada

Picture #: 022396

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Picture of a Kermode bear, spirit bear, ghost bear, Ursus americanus kermodei, sow fishing for salmon, central British Columbia coast, Canada

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Image of a Kermode bear, spirit bear, ghost bear, Ursus americanus kermodei, sow with cub feeding on salmon, central British Columbia coast, Canada

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Stock photo of a Kermode bear, spirit bear, ghost bear, Ursus americanus kermodei, sow with cub walking on a log at high tide along the coast in the rainforest of the central British Columbia coast, Canada

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Picture of a Kermode bear, spirit bear, ghost bear, Ursus americanus kermodei, sow catching a salmon, central British Columbia coast, Canada

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