A white colored black bear near Skagway, Alaska. These white colored bears are also known as Kermode, Spirit or Ghost Bears.
Certainly one of my highlights last summer was spotting and photographing this rare bear. You may have remembered me writing about it here: Spirit Bear. The local residents were so excited to have such a rare bear around, that they lobbied and convinced the State Board of Game to pass a law protecting the taking of a white black bear.
Last Saturday, the Anchorage Daily News reported that someone named Thor Henricksen allegedly killed this popular bear on June 9 during the spring black bear hunting season. Black bears are extremely prevalent in Alaska, there probably hundreds in just the Skagway area alone – why someone would kill this particular bear is absolutely beyond me!
To add insult to injury, the paper also reported that “state biologist determined that the bear that was shot was not fully white and therefore not protected under the regulation” Clearly the intent of the regulation was to protect this bear – sounds like Thor may be friends with some state biologists! Not surprisingly, the state has refused to allow the hide to be viewed by reporters from Juneau Empire.
It would be interesting to read the local Skagway paper – this bear was pretty much the main story in town when I was there last year, I bet it is again for an entirely different reason.