Who would have thought that instead of an icy white Arctic background, a white bear would be seen catching fish in green forest covers of British Columbia? But rarely seen and even more rarely heard, these bears do exist and while they look like Polar bears, they are in fact ‘white’ North American black bears.
Photographer Paul Nicklen got lucky and captured images of a white black bear amongst the dense green forest of British Columbia. Locally they are known as the Kermode Bear.
The 43-year-old from Vancouver, Canada, says about his experience, ‘This little bear is amazing its pure white, it’s not a polar bear and there are only 200 left in the world – it’s more rare than a panda.”
The bears live with the more common black bears or spirit bears in these forests. They were once thought to be mythical creatures and now understanding their rarity, the British Columbia government has made it an offence to shoot them with a fine up to $100,000 CAD.
Wildlife photographers from all over the world keep coming to the forests to catch a glimpse of these rare bears and photograph them. Even for Paul it was not an easy sighting.
‘I sat in this forest for two months without ever seeing one and I felt sure I was going to leave empty handed.” He says. “But then after two months of wondering what I was going to do, this incredible big white male came right beside me about three feet away, he grabbed a fish and ate it.”
“I then spent my entire day living my childhood dream walking around with this bear through the forest. I actually got to sleep within three feet of this bear and photograph him, it was a truly amazing experience.”
It is definitely an experience everyone would like to have!