Spirit bears hold a prominent place in the oral traditions of the indigenous peoples of the area. They have also been featured in a National Geographic documentary. Scientists have found that black bears are not as effective at catching fish as white bears, as the white bears are less visible from the perspective of the fish. At night, the two colours of bears have similar success rates at catching fish, such as salmon, but during the day, the white bears are 30 percent more effective.
The Kermode bear was named after Frank Kermode, former director of the Royal B.C. Museum, who researched the subspecies and was a colleague of William Hornaday, the zoologist who described it. A common mispronunciation of Kermode as /kərˈmoʊdiː/ kər-moh-dee differs from the actual pronunciation of the Kermode surname, which originates on the Isle of Man and is properly pronounced /ˈkɜːrmoʊd/ kur-mohd, which is the usual way to pronounce Kermode bear
The U. a. kermodei subspecies ranges from Princess Royal Island to Prince Rupert, British Columbia on the coast, and inland toward Hazelton, British Columbia. It is known to the Tsimshian peoples as moksgm'ol. In the February 2006 Speech from the Throne by the Government of British Columbia, the Lieutenant Governor announced the government's intention to designate the Kermode, or spirit bear, as British Columbia's official animal. It was adopted as such in April of that year. A male Kermode bear can reach 225 kg (500 lb) or more, females are much smaller with a maximum weight of 135 kg (300 lb). Straight up, it stands 180 cm (5' 11") tall.
Fewer than 400 Kermode bears are estimated to exist in the coast area that stretches from Southeast Alaska southwards to the northern tip of Vancouver Island; about 120 inhabit the large Princess and Prince Royal Island. The largest concentration of the white bears inhabits 80-square-mile Gribbell Island, in the territory of the Gitga’at.
The bear's habitat is potentially under threat from the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines, whose planned route passes near the Great Bear Rainforest. Native groups including the Gitga'at have opposed the pipeline.
Kermode Bears in Captivity Edit
In October 2012, it was announced that a Kermode bear would be housed at the British Columbia Wildlife Park in Kamloops, BC, believed to be the only such recessive gene from a subspecies bear in captivity. The yearling cub was found abandoned in northwestern British Columbia on the side of Terrace Mountain near Terrace. After two unsuccessful attempts to rehabilitate and release him back into the wild, the cub, now nicknamed 'Clover' by handlers, was sent to the park when conservation officers decided that he was not a candidate for relocation. The park has plans to create a custom home for the bear, who has escaped from his temporary enclosure once already. Animal rights group Lifeforce believes that the bear is healthy enough to survive on his own and that he should be relocated and released back into the wild. Provincial government wildlife officials have maintained its position against attempting a long-distance relocation, stating that the risks outweigh the possible benefits, and as of October 2015, the bear remained in captivity.