A video of a unique pale bear has been drawing attention on social media. Originally posted to Reddit by u/unnaturalorder with the title “A beautiful Spirit bear walking along a river in the Pacific Northwest,” some have suggested this could be an albino black bear, or perhaps even a hybrid “Grolar Bear” or “Prizzly.”
Hogwash, according to Redditor u/fariomurtado.
“They are not Albino. They are a Black Bear born with a recessive gene that causes this polymorphism in their coat,” commented fariomurtado. “They only exist in a very small section of Northwest British Columbia, Canada.
“Of all the Kermode population, only a small percentage are born fully white, known as the Spirit Bear. They are said to have a strong connection with the First Nations people.”
According to Canadian Geographic, the Kermode bear is actually named after Francis Kermode, a provincial museum worker who discovered the bears in the early 1900s.
“Few people realize that all Kermodes are actually black bears,” Canadian Geographic reports. “The famous white fur comes from a recessive gene. Both parent bears must have this gene for their cub to be white. It is the same phenomenon occurring in human genes for blue eyes or red hair.”
Like a black bear, the Kermode bear’s claws are black, while the nose and paws are dark brown or black. An albino bear would lack pigment in each of these areas, more likely expressing as pink or white all over.
According to u/Volvo_Commander, “In southeast Alaska these exist and are called “Glacier Bears” FYI.”
“This is such an amazing animal…” commented u/HughJassmanTheThird. “I fall in love with this amazing planet all over again every time I see something like this. Billions of years of strife, death, and struggle led to this amazing creature. Such beauty :)”
“I feel like if I give it a salmon it will bless me with the bounty of the wilds or something,” wrote u/Hairyhalflingfoot.
See more of the Kermode, “Spirit Bear,” in the video below.
Spirit bears may be rare in the wild, and not be so well known among most redditors, but they have more recently in vivid detail. The documentary, “The Great Bear Rainforest: Land of the Spirit Bear,” is narrated by Ryan Reynolds, with music by Hans Zimmer and Anže Rozman, and was released in 2018 to IMAX and Giant Screen Theatres.
Here’s the trailer for the film.