As a media and public relations agent for the Canadian Province of British Columbia, Connor Baldwin has spent many years photographing the bears of the region. There are two distinct species of bear that are native to British Columbia, the Grizzly Bear and the Kermode Bear. Each of these bear species are unique, and important to the wildlife and ecology of their habitat.
The Grizzly Bear, or Ursus arctos horribilus, is the second largest land based carnivore in all of North America. It has a life expectancy of twenty years, and the average male Grizzly Bear can reach an astounding three hundred fifty kilograms. While there are many bears that have the same brown coloring as the Grizzly, these are easily spotted due to their anatomy. The Grizzly Bear has a large hump or protrusion on its back, near the area of the shoulder blades. This mass of tissue and muscle helps to support the enormous front legs of the bear. Other distinctive characteristics of the Grizzly Bear include a concave snout, extremely long claws, and poor eyesight. Though dark brown is the most commonly viewed fur color, the Grizzly can be any shade from ivory to nearly black.
The Kermode Bear, also known as the Ghost Bear or Spirit Bear, is a cultural symbol for the British Columbia Province. This white bear is actually a black bear that carries a recessive gene. Both of the Kermode Bear’s parents must carry the gene for their offspring to have the white fur. At times, the Kermode Bear will appear very white and furry, especially after having just shed its yearly coat. Connor Baldwin says that as time passes each year, the bear gets dirty from living in the wild and eventually starts to look more brown or dingy.