Located in British Columbia is ‘The Great Bear Rainforest’ which is one of the largest coastal temperate rain forests in all of the world. This twenty-five-thousand mile rain forest is filled with densely misted fjords and neighboring islands that are home to one of the most interesting and rare animals in current existence–the Kermode Bear. The Kermode Bear is neither a polar bear nor albino, but rather a rare genetic mutation of a black bear that causes its fur to be fair-colored, seemingly white. There are fewer than 500 hundred of these bears in the world today.
The first inhabitants to live in this nation called the bear mooksgm’ol, meaning the spirit bear. It was highly prized to the natives as one of the rarest and most respected animals to grace the land. The spirit bear was so highly admired by the natives, that they never once spoke of the animal’s existence to the European visitors who hunted the black bears for their fur trade. Even today, it is taboo to mention them to outsiders, let alone hunt them for their fur value.
The rare mutation is cause by a recessive gene in the bear’s genome, which causes their fur to produce a white tone, similar to the red-haired/fair-skinned recessive gene in humans. This rare gene has proved to be vital in the bear’s evolutionary survival. It allows the bear to be at an advantage during daytime fishing as opposed to the cousin black bears. Mixed with the mist of the forrest and the clear water of the rivers, the spirit bear can easily wade in the water and catch fish without difficulty during certain hours of the day. Although during the night, the black bear and Kermode bear have equal odds of catching native salmon, the spirit bears have a 30% greater success rate of catching the fish during the early hours of the day.
These bears are a product of evolution as they have proved to benefit from their surround environment: the mist of the forrest, the clarity of the water, and the disposition of their color opposed to their black bear cousin. The spirit bear is one of the most prized possession of British Columbia and its neighboring coastal islands. I respect how closely monitored and rarely spoke of the bears were to the native inhabitants which is why this natural beauty is deemed appropriate for this blog.