“Spirit bears” (aka Kermode bears) are a very unique subspecies of North American black bears. About 1/10th of the Kermode bear subspecies are born white (hence the name), due to some sort of genetic variation scientists are yet to pinpoint. The most common belief is that bears are born with white hair for the same reason that humans are born with blue eyes — each parent has the non-dominant gene. White bears can be born from two non-white parents and white bears can also give birth to non-white cubs.
Less than 400 spirit bears are believed to be living today. They mostly live in a remote rainforest in Canada and are revered and protected (a bit) by the people living there. However, there is still more that could be done to protect them from hunting and logging.
Additionally, as ABC news recently reported, spirit bears are also now being threated by an oil company, Enbridge, that would like to build a pipeline through the rainforest where most of them live, essentially turning the area into a “super highway for super tankers.”
Doesn’t sound like a good idea.
How can you help these bears? One way you can help them to get more respect and protection is by signing this petition on Care2: Stop Logging and Ban Hunting In Canadian Spirit Bear Habitat. Additionally, you can support the Valhalla Wilderness Society, one of the key groups that have worked to protect these bears for decades.
Help out this precious and beautiful creature today.
Photo Credit: Roberta Taylor via flickr (CC license)