Behold the ghostly Kermode bear (Ursus americanus kermodei), also known as the “Spirit Bear”, a subspecies of the American Black Bear living in the central and north coast of British Columbia, Canada. Approximately 1/10 of their population are born with white or cream-coloured coats of fur like you see in these beautiful photos. They are not albinos or related to the Polar bear. This colour morph is due to a recessive allele common in the population. 

National Geographic estimates the spirit bear population at 400-1000 individuals, saying that “the spirit bear may owe its survival to the protective traditions of the First Nations, who never hunted the animals or spoke of them to fur trappers”

In addition to their awesome appearance, the Kermode bears are also particularly successful fishermenbears:

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. While at night the two colors of bears have similar success rates at catching fish, such as salmon, during the day the white bears are 30% more effective.

Photos by Paul Nicklen via National Geographic

Source National Geographic