Kermode Bears: White Bears – Red Fish

kozak_kermode_0The BC north coast region around the Skeena River, the lower Skeena watershed and the area south of this, is home to an unusual white bear- the Kermode.

Most people now think that many of the bears in the region, white and black, are in fact Kermodes, a unique sub-species of black bears. It is thought that these Kermodes carry a special recessive gene. Kermodes who receive this recessive gene from both their parents are white.

Why are these bears on a wild salmon site?

These bears fatten up, getting their share of the millions of wild salmon returning to the Skeena River’s tributaries and streams to spawn in the fall. Rich oily salmon are an important food source just before the bear’s winter hibernation.

This mother (below), even though she is black, must be a Kermode, because she has a white cub. Her mate was also a Kermode (either black or white) and both parents supplied the special recessive Kermode gene which gives this cub its unique white colour.kermodecubwithmom_0