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Find the right Alaska Stock photo for your next advertising, retail or editoral project. Call for FREE research help: 800-487-4285 > Alaska Facts > Spirit Bear Photos

Spirit Bear Photos

Canada's Spirit Bear

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Spirit Bear Pictures
British Columbia

The "Spirit Bear" is one of the least known varieties of bears in North America! At Alaska Stock Images, you will find a selection of Spirit Bear pictures from Canadaís famous British Columbia.

The Spirit Bear, also known as the Kermode bear (Ursus americanus kermodei) is a subspecies of the American Black Bear. The Kermode bearís territory is in the central and north coast of British Columbia. What makes the Kermode bear special is that about 1/10 of its population has a white or cream-colored coat. However, this recessive trait should not be confused with albino bears. The white Spirit Bears are more closely related to polar bears or the "blond" brown bears of Alaskaís ABC Islands (Admiralty Island, Baranof Island, and Chichagof Island).

Historical Skagway
Spirit Bear on Princess Royal Isl.

Because of their white or "ghost-like" appearance, the Canadian First Nation groups revere the Spirit Bear and hold it in high esteem in their traditional mythology. Learn about traditional mythology at:

One of the major threats to Spirit Bears today is the logging and oil industries. The oil company Enbridge would like to build an oil pipeline linking the town of Athabasca, in central Alberta, to the port town of Kitimat in British Columbia. The pipeline would carry 525,000 barrels of oil to the coast per day and pass through important watersheds, brush past Coastal First Nations lands and the Great Bear Rainforest, a protected coastal area that includes the Spirit Bear's range.

Kodiak Alaska Photos
Spirit Bear in British Columbia

According to National Geographic, "The International League of Conservation Photographers recently performed a Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition (RAVE) in the area, sending a dozen photographers to the rain forest to document the ecosystem they believe is at risk. A pipeline means more tankers, and because the Kitimat terminal is separated from the open ocean by more than one hundred miles of channels and fjords, the photographers argue that a tanker spill would imperil the local environment."

More information on the Spirit Bear can be found at:

Recommened Reading:

Spirit Bear: Encounters with the White Bear of the Western Rainforest - Spirit Bear is the story of Charles Russell's quest to forge a unique relationship of mutual trust with the rare spirit bear of Princess Royal Island. Russell was on the island to help Jeff and Sue Turner with their film, Island of the Ghost Bear. During the course of the shoot, he became intrigued with, and eventually befriended the shy young Spirit Bear who was the subject of the film.

Welcome to the World of Spirit Bears (Welcome to the World Series) Through full color wildlife photography and engaging text, Diane Swanson continues her acclaimed Welcome to the World of... series, which contains nearly 30 titles and inspires, fascinates and educates children.

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