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Spirit Bears


Encounters with the Spirit Bears of the Great Bear Rainforest

Bright white against the dense green forests on the coast of British Columbia, these ‘spirit’ bears are a sight to behold. Watching these beautiful creatures swiping fish from spawning streams with their strong jaws and claws is an incredible sight, and in fact, spirit bears appear more successful than the blacks at this - perhaps owing to their colour being less obvious to the fish below the water.

Spirit bears feed on vegetation, abundant with bulbs, fruit, insects and rodents, as well as delicious salmon throughout the summer to fatten up for the long cold winters.

Where do Spirit Bears live?

Spirit Bears live almost exclusively in the dense forests of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia.

CAN St Canada Spirit Bear Shutterstock Naturesmmentsuk

The Best Time to see Spirit Bears

The best time to see Spirit Bears is when the rivers and streams are full of salmon, this is typically from late August to early October. As with all wildlife sightings, there is no guarantee at this time as the bears can show up in different river systems at different times.

CAN St Canada Spirit Bear Shutterstock Naturesmmentsuk

The Best Place to see Spirit Bears

The best place to see spirit bears is at Spirit Bear Lodge, a unique concept built and run by the local Kitasoo/Xaixai community. All of the windows within the bedrooms and main area of the lodge are designed in a way to give you fantastic vistas across the river, Great Bear Rainforest and the Pacific Ocean; they are almost floor to ceiling to ensure you get the best chance of spotting as much wildlife from the comfort of your room as possible.

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Spirit Bears

  • Males can grow up to 4-6 feet in length, from head to tail when standing on their hind legs.
  • Hunting of Kermode bears is banned, however as black bears can produce white offspring, there is a strong case for the protection of all black bears here
  • Kermode (spirit) bears can be black or white, and it is not uncommon to see black mums with white cubs, or vice versa. It is thought that spirit bears are actually better than their black counterparts at fishing as their coat makes them difficult for the fish to see.

CONSERVATION STATUS: Spirit bears are endangered. Their dwindling habitat through logging is the biggest threat.