An ultra rare Kermode, or ‘Spirit Bear’, may have been spotted south of Vanderhoof.
17 year old Dawson Clapperton spotted the white bear on Sept 30th while out hunting with his cousin.
Kermode Bears are traditionally found in the Great Bear Rainforest, closer to the coast of BC. Fewer than 400 of are estimated to be in existence.
But Dave Bakker with the Northern Bear Awareness Society says it’s not a given that the bear spotted near Vanderhoof is in fact a Kermode Bear.
He says white bears have been spotted around the province sporadically; a couple in the Kootenays several years ago, one in Jasper about two years ago and a white cub in Whistler last year. That cub ended up changing into a brown coat by the end of the season.
The Kermode is not an albino, but have their colour due to a unique double recessive gene.
“That’s where the great unknown is, are they actually the classified Kermode Bear with the recessive genes, or are they just a colour phased white bear type of thing.” Bakker said
Bakker says without a full DNA analysis of the bear, it’s hard to tell if it is the real thing, but he’ll be sending the video to his consulting biologist for their opinion.
MY PG NOW has also forwarded the video to the Conservation Office for their thoughts.