Encounter With a Spirit Bear

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Mark Cawardine spent hours waiting for a rare encounter with a "spirit" bear in Canada's Great Bear Rain Forest. During his wait he saw many black bears, fishing their way up the river. Finally his patience panned out, a spirit bear came out of the forest to do some fishing.

One of the animal world’s great enigmas, it is a walking contradiction – a white black bear (an extremely rare colour variant of the American black bear). It is neither a polar bear nor albino. It has normal pigmentation in its eyes, nose and skin and the whiteness comes from a recessive gene, so, to be born white, the bear must inherit the gene from both parents. Also known as the ghost bear, or Kermode bear (named after Francis Kermode, former director of the Royal British Columbia Museum), it is elusive and rarely seen – except for a few weeks every year in one tiny corner of the forest.

Cawardine had the timing right, and the location right, so he was able to get some amazing shots of the animal. Cawardine moved to the river to get better shots of the bear, and the bear was busy fishing to pay too much attention to Cawardine. When the bear got his belly full of fresh fish, he walked back into the dark forest and Cawardine was able to go away with a treasure of his own; pictures and memories for a lifetime. From The Telegraph Travel.