Grizzly bears are not always the rarest of animals, but a white grizzly bear is extremely rare. A hotel worker was driving in the Banff National Park with her husband and two sons when she spotted this animal, that they named Nakoda.
When Cara Clarkson, who is a Rimrock Resort Hotel employee, saw the all-white bear, it was along the side of the highway looking for food.
There is no doubt that this is one incredible bear, but then again, it should be hanging a little bit further away from the side of the Trans-Canada Highway.
Clarkson typically wouldn’t have stopped because she doesn’t like to disturb the bears. She saw this as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” so she decided to take a picture.
As it turns out, there are some animal experts and scientists who are happy she made the effort. It just seems to fascinate them!
St. Albert Today reported that Clarkson said, “We were like ‘holy smokes! That is full on a white grizzly bear.”
Some grizzly bears may be slightly different in color, but to see one that is completely white is extremely rare.
Mike Gibeau is a former Parks Canada researcher, who said:
“I have never in all my time working with grizzly bears – since the early 1980s – seen a white grizzly bear.
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I’ve seen a really, really blond grizzly, but never a white one.”
It may be possible that Nakoda is an albino bear, but that is also a rare occurrence. Gibeau feels that isn’t the case, because the bear would also have different colored eyes and skin.
It seems as if a recessive gene in the species may be responsible for the unique coloring. It is almost never seen in a grizzly bear.
Global News reports that Seth Cherry from Parks Canada said, “It’s certainly the only one I’m aware of that’s been seen in our Rocky Mountain National Park.”
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It seems as if they were searching for food when they climbed over a fence and ended up alongside the road.
Parks Canada’s Jon Stuart-Smith said: “This is a unique bear, and I certainly have never seen one before, but we ask people can appreciate that it’s out there and do things to ensure its safety, like not stopping on the highway.”
Sounds like good advice to me!
Officials at the park feel that the bears will go back into the wilderness once they exhaust their search for food near the roadway.
Stuart-Smith continued: “We hope they move onto other locations and then eventually move up into higher elevations.”
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