An extremely unusual grizzly bear has been recently spotted in Canadian Rockies. A few weeks ago, a footage of a white bear has emerged online, after a family has accidentally caught on camera the mysterious creature in the Banff National Park.
While sightings of white bears are very common on the West Coast – where a population of over 400 Kermode bears (or spirit bears) lives, it is very unusual for a grizzly bear to have a white coat. The bear, nicknamed Nakoda (which means “friend” or “aly” in the indigenous language of Stoney Nakoda) by locals is around 3-years-old and apparently the park’s officials have known about its existence since 2017, but they kept it secret for the fear of too many visitors; a thing that could have endangered the rare animal.
The officials at the Banff Park send a crystal clear message to all curious visitor to stay away from the white bear as their presence would disturb the bear. “It’s not something that we necessarily wanted to draw attention to,” Jon Stuart-Smith, a wildlife specialist with Parks Canada told the media. “But we were expecting that, at some point, it would start to draw attention. It’s an amazing thing to see such a unique (creature) but we hope people can realize that it highlights the conservation concerns with the species as a whole.”
View this post on Instagram
Parks Canada also revealed the bear’s extremely rare color is due to a very atypical recessive gene and not due to albinism as it was initially rumoured. They also said that even it is extremely rare, Nakoda isn’t the first white grizzly bear spotted in the Canadian wilderness.
“Grizzly bears are typically brown, black or blonde,” the agency said in a statement. “However, this colour phase variation is unusual for grizzly bears but has been seen before.”
Even though, the wildlife officials raised awareness for people to not get close to the wildlife when visiting the Banff Park, numerous photos and videos of bears have recently emerged. Some of them showing Nakoda. “The visitors should give the animal space,” the agency said. “Bears and other wildlife that become comfortable around people.”
Unfortunately, some people doesn’t take those recommendations too serious. “One individual … approached the bear within 50 metres,” said Jason Bantle, a biologist and wildlife photographer. That’s unacceptable.”