Spirit Bears

by Rebecca on October 29, 2010

in Animal Pictures,Animal Stories,Cute Animal Pictures

Spirit Bears
The spirit bear is a rare genetic variant of the black bear, with a double recessive gene that gives it a pure white coat. The bears are endemic to coastal British Columbia – meaning they are found nowhere else in the world – and with fewer than 500 in existence, they are rarer than great pandas. (Ian McAllister, Pacific Wild / International League of Conservation Photographers)
Spirit Bears
Native communities like the Gitga’at Nation consider the spirit bear to be sacred. Gitga’at mythology says that the Raven, their creator God, gave the spirit bear white fur to remind humans of a time when the world was covered in ice and snow. (Ian McAllister, Pacific Wild / International League of Conservation Photographers)
Spirit Bears
Scientists aren’t sure why the spirit bear’s coat is white, but one theory is that it gives them an advantage when fishing: in a temperate rainforest, the skies are often cloudy. When the fish look up at the white bear, it blends in with the clouds in the sky. (Ian McAllister, Pacific Wild / International League of Conservation Photographers)


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