Monday, November 11, 2013

The Spirit Bear and the Great Bear Rainforest

One of the rarest creatures in the world, a Kermode bear, is a sub-species of the Black Bear family.


Spirit Bear, Great Bear Rainforest - Wiki images

The Spirit Bear

Or Kermode bear
Ursus americanus kermodei, pronounced kerr-MO-dee.

These special bears have a recessive genetic anomoly which produces the white or champagne-colored fur. Numbering only in the hundreds, this species could be drastically reduced by destruction of its feeding grounds through oil pollution.

The natural habitat of the Spirit Bear is the Great Bear Rainforest, a large pristine area including coastal waters, which protects many species. It would take decades to recover from losses to the whale populations, bird populations, salmon and halibut fishing, and wildlife tourism. The side effects of the loss to the food chain would be noticeable. Oil suffocates.


Kermode bears are called Spirit Bears, particularly by the First Nations tribes of British Columbia. Officially, these bears are named after a director of the Royal British Columbia Museum, Francis Kermode, who researched the Kermode sub-species.
The Spirit Bear lives in the central and north coast of British Columbia, Canada. See wiki map below.


Wikipedia map of BC and Great Bear Rainforest area

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References:

The Vancouver Sun Newspaper - 'Great Bear Rainforest a region to promote, not pollute; Northern Gateway: Pipeline decision makers should visit this pristine area to see just what is at risk.' by Michael McCarthy, travel writer. Commentary.

An excellent article with statistics on The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. That cleanup is still ongoing. Gale-force winds sweep down these passages, increasing the chances of an accident. The same problem that affects the bears will eventually affect us.

No one except big business wants the oil pipelines in their backyard. Would you?

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Have you heard of Spirit Bears? Should we have more animal conservation sites, with stronger rules and regulations? If there's only one habitat, shouldn't it be protected? Do you care about your environment, or about the green spaces like The Great Bear Rainforest?

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References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Bear_Rainforest Great Bear Rainforest

http://www.spiritbear.com/site/wildlife/spirit_bears.html Spirit Bear Site

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kermode_bear Wiki Kermode bear

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34 comments:

  1. Yes, I have read about Spirit Bears and I strongly feel their environment should be protected. The overall picture for survival of so many animals, and maybe even humans, is looking bleaker each day, with more super storms, more oil spills, and of course, continued pollution. Something must be done, but greed may trump it all. Thank you for writing about these beautiful and somewhat mysterious animals.

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    1. I do want their story told. Man cannot always fix what he destroys. After an oil spill, tut-tuts and finger pointing don't help. Glad you've heard of them, Inger.

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  2. I have heard of Spirit Bears, and I agree that their environment should be protected!

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    1. Our future will be bleak if we lose too many species. In Canada, the scientists can't speak freely about all they see. Sounds a bit backward to me.

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  3. As the narrator for Hibbs, I am a big bear fan -- especially Spirit Bears. I now have a champagne-colored cat whose spirit is something else!

    I fear Man's greed will prove the Spirit Bear's downfall. But we must do what we can while we can. I loved the pictures of the Spirit Bears. :-)

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    1. What is the cat's name? Will we get to meet the feline? I feel affinity with cats.

      As for Spirit Bears, now that I know Hibbs, his wisdom will come to mind when I think of these special bears. Perhaps they will be saved, if the word spreads far enough that this is their ONLY home on earth as far as we know.

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  4. They are beautiful but vulnerable. One of these days I hope we wake up and figure out oil isn't the solution.

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    1. Many are speaking out about the spills and other damage. We can't let big business destroy their feeding grounds.

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  5. What a beautiful creature. No, I'd never heard of these bears before, but I'd strongly agree that their habitat must be preserved. How conceited and short-sighted we humans are when it comes to protecting our planet, as though we are the only species that matters. Unfortunately, greed too often speaks louder than good stewardship.

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    1. Your final sentence says it well, Susan. I'm glad you know about Spirit Bears now.

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  6. So beautiful. And ha, Roland is who I thought of upon first reading your post title so it's nice to see him here. Seems like an easy choice to protect their narrow strip of earth, doesn't it? Alas...people are nuts.

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    1. As more and more of our large green places are decimated (like the dwindling Amazon), man turns a blind eye. Those green spaces also affect our air quality.

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  7. I've never heard of this bear. I do think we should protect the environment for lots reasons and saving this bear is a good one.

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    1. Well, now you've heard of this rare species, Susan. Thanks for visiting.

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  8. I have NEVER heard of spirit bears! And I even took Wildlife Biology and thought I knew everything there was to know about bears. This is way cool.

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    1. I never heard of them either until I came to the Pacific Northwest in Canada. I saw a newspaper article.

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  9. i was so excited to read this today---my daughter and i spent a semester, studying bears----but you know, i can't remember this gorgeous one--i am going to ask her if she recalls them :)

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    1. The species is named Kermode, and the First Nations and environmentalists call them Spirit Bears (they are few compared to other bears). They aren't related to polar bears or grizzles, but are a subspecies.

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  10. That's a good-looking bear! I remember the Spirit Bear was mentioned on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman back when I was a kid -- but I can't say I've heard about it since. Great post, DG.

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    1. I never watched that, but remember the name of that show, Milo. Spirit Bears were kept secret for a long time, likely in the belief the hunters would decimate the species. (trophy hunters)

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  11. Yes, I read this and left the first comment. I love that photo of the bear. I'm glad you asked though because I would not have wanted to miss it. The flowers are from our veggie garden. They are called Sugar Peas, and produced a lot of peas. Sweet Peas are one of my favorite flowers and these came pretty close.

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    1. Maybe I just wanted you to visit again, Inger. . .I have heard of sugar peas. I missed my gardening this year. Thanks for the second visit, and the answers.

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  12. Very interesting post. I had never heard of these Kemode Bears before.

    The sad thing about man made disasters is their long reaching affect. It takes lifetimes to clean up the messes man makes in just a few short minutes.

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    1. That Valdez cleanup has taken ten years so far. A lot of people haven't heard of the Spirit Bear, since it only has this ONE habitat upcoast from the southern mainland.

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  13. Oh wow, had never heard of these bears. I definitely believe in preserving the environment, and most definitely the habitats of endangered species. Thanks for the education!
    Tina @ Life is Good

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  14. A great post. So interesting to hear about these endangered bears.

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    1. Awareness may help others know about this rare sub-species. Pipelines and oil tankers have the capacity to spoil this environment, judging by past records of the same companies when a cleanup is needed. After the fact is too late.

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  15. I've heard of spirit bears, their environment should be protected and something done before it's too late. Thanks for posting this, I didn't know they were in danger

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    1. I'm glad you've heard of them in the UK, Hayley-Eszti! I watch all the news about these creatures. I want to increase awareness of their plight.

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  16. No, I hadn't heard of them, which is sort of shameful. Ugh, the oil pipelines. Yes, I believe in preserving our natural habitats. It feels like we're just slowly, but surely, edging out wildlife, plant life, etc., like it's a right we have to do so. Happily, my city has a lot of protected areas and does a lot of education. Not enough, but it's a start.

    The Warrior Muse

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    1. That's good to hear that your city is taking steps to educate its people, Shannon.

      Some areas recognize the danger, but we've seen the damage elsewhere and we've seen that recovery is costly, takes extensive time and wipes out some species. First nations have warned against the pipelines - they see it up close on their lands and in the waters. Damage to this area affects territorial lands as well.

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  17. What we've done to our planet makes me cry. We have this incredible world, truly incredible, and it's the only one we have. Why are we so hell bent on destroying it?

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    1. Business thinks in the short term. What makes money? Getting the product there faster, that means tankers or pipelines.
      We need cleaner power. And a government that listens to its scientists.

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