Senin, 18 Juli 2011

Kermode Bear

In a rainy autumn morning on the coast of British Columbia, a dark wood figure of the coast. A black bear came to eat. This is the spawning season. Eggs heavy abundance of fish in streams Gribbell Island, a small portion of the Great Bear Rainforest in Canada, one of the largest coastal temperate forests of the world. The bear stopped in a patch of seaweed algae to sniff the air. Rain and fog can not hide the funky putrefaction. The bodies of pink salmon and chum salmon are caught in the strands of linguine wave sedges. The bear moves like a silhouette in the landscape, its mixture of black hair with dark woods and dark stones.

Marven Robinson points bear, but away, indifferent. "We could have a better chance upstream" he said. Robinson, 43, robust and wrapped in rain gear, is a guide to wildlife and member of the Gitga'at First Nation whose traditional territory includes Gribbell Island. This bear is not what you want. It is after a most revered and rare creature called Gitga'at mooksgm'ol, Spirit of the Bear, a contradiction, a walking black polar bear.

Neither an albino polar bear and the spirit of the bear (also known as the Kermode Bear) is a variant of the white North American black bear, and was found almost exclusively here in the Great Bear Rainforest. At 25 000 square miles and a half times the size of Switzerland, passes through the area at a depth of 250 km on the west coast of Canada and includes a vast network of mist-shrouded fjords, forested islands, glacier-capped mountains and . Grizzly bears, blacks, wolves, wolverines, humpback and killer whales thrive along the coast that is home to First Nations as Gitga'at hundreds of generations. It is a scary, wild, mysterious place: there are wolves here in the fish. Deer that swim. Western Red Cedar trees have lasted 1000 years or more. And black bear, which is white.

As his boots making a wet track full of ferns and devil's club, Robinson looks for movement. There is no door. He sees a white patch of hair that hangs from a branch of alder. "They are here again," he said. Emphasis is placed on the bark chewed. "They like to bite the tree bears only say, I'm here with the river."

An hour passes. Robinson, waiting patiently for the Moss-patched boulder. Then he saw a rustle in the bush. "Here," he says.

White Bear lateral distance from the trees on the Rock Stream. Faced with a dark palette of tropical forests will unfairly bear fur radiation. Not pure white, exactly. More than a vanilla-colored carpets need steam cleaning. The bear's head swings from side to side, peering into the vortex of salmon. Before he can hit one, black bear suddenly out of the forest and passes through the polar bear off its perch, even if the "end" might be a bit 'strong. All the bears did not seem to take place in slow motion, as if they were trying to save every last calorie in the coming winter. White Bear lumbers into the bushes and disappear.

Robinson watches. He spent 15 years with the Spirit Bear. However, he nailed. "The polar bear is very particular subject," he said. "Sometimes it happens to me. I'm protective. I once saw an old polar bear attacked by a young black bear. I was about jump in and spray with black pepper. instinct was strong in me. But then the white reared and threw him out. "Robinson smiled, as if to admit the absurdity of a man jumping into a battle of bears. But in his eyes there is a hint that he might have done.

Robinson is not alone. The same protective instinct is strong in all the jungle of the Great Bear. This is one of the factors that have kept alive the spirit of giving.

"Our people have never hunted the polar bear," said Helen Clifton, who is sitting in her kitchen in Hartley Bay, a small fishing village dominated by tendrils of wood smoke and crows echo invocation. With voice and mind, Clifton 86 years is a matriarch of the clan of Gitga'at, one of 14 bands that constitute the Tsimshian people of the northwest coast of British Columbia. Bear Meat was rarely a staple food, she said. But First Nations hunters went after the black bear in a more European merchants established when the fur trade in British Columbia during the late 18 century. Even in those days but take a polar bear was a taboo subject, a tradition that continued for many generations. "We never spoke of the Spirit Bear at the table," said Clifton.

This tight-lipped the custom would have been an early form of environmental protection. Speaking of a bear, not to mention hunting, Gitga'at and adjacent frequency bands will never be the creature word reaches the ears, fur traders. Today Gitga'at and Kitasoo / Xai 'xais people keep an eye on their door during the hunting season. "It's no good to come when the black bear in our region," says Robinson. "You never know. We are able to shoot the bears back."

This attitude makes all the difference. For decades, the presence of poachers and trophy hunters, as well as mills and canning factory-built Great Bear Grizzlies rare and nervous. Industries have disappeared, as hunting grizzlies in some parts of the rainforest. The bear reacts. "In my first year was really something to see a grizzly bear," said Doug Stewart. As the patrol fishing agreement, Stewart followed the fish runs in Big Bear for over 35 years. "Now you see all the time. I can come through the five Grizzlies in one morning. "

They are so good, in fact, that some wonder if the return of the grizzly bear is not growing black and some white, against the best seasons for fishing in rivers. "When you see a Griz, you can not see a black bear or white," says Doug Neasloss a Kitasoo / Xai 'xais wildlife guide. "Black has Griz give much space."

This leads to an interesting possibility: Maybe the Griz had a hand in focus in the gene Kermode Gribbell Princess Royal and the islands. "Grizzlies and black bears live everywhere except on small islands," said Thomas Reimchen, a biologist at the University of Victoria. "There is not enough habitat for grizzly bears in these small islands. They need large estuaries grass, alpine habitat, and a wide range of home, including the islands do not."

The islands offer something else: human eyes watching over them. "I tell young people," said Helen Clifton, "When you see a bear spirit, not in the VHF and television. If you tell someone, say they saw mooksgm'ol. I know what you mean. And it will keep the door securely. "

Scientists know how black bears are born white. They just do not know why. This phenomenon, known as Kermodism is caused by a recessive mutation in the MC1R gene, the same gene are associated with red hair and fair skin in humans. Being born white, then a bear will inherit the mutation from both parents. The parents themselves should not be white. They just need to carry the recessive mutation. So it is not uncommon for polar bears to be born to black parents.

White fur occurs in one of every 40-100 bears blacks is the coast of British Columbia, but the section is particularly pronounced in some islands of the Great Bear Rainforest. Are the Princess Royal Island, one in ten blacks bears are white. And 'Gribbell Island, north of the Princess Royal, is one of the three. Biologist Wayne McCrory is Valhalla Wilderness Society, called Gribbell, "the mother of the 'island of white bears."

It is unclear how these features arose. A theory was "Bear Glacier" assumption that an adjustment residual Kermodism the last great ice age that ended 11,000 years ago. At that time, most of British Columbia today was still frozen and a white coat may have provided camouflage. But the theory of wear glacial raised a question: Why not the white coat features die when the glaciers retreated?

For more information, Neasloss Doug and I will find bears on Princess Royal Island. "Hey, bear," said Neasloss as jumping from a boat near the mouth of a small river. It is as if he had been a friend named Bear, but there are no animals in sight. "I'm not scared," said the guide 28, who works in the traditional territory of xais Kitasoo / Xai. A can of pepper spray grizzly force is based on a holster on his hip. Barnacle encrusted rocks through the clear parts and Neasloss the curtain of rain forest. Under the canopy as it rotates smoothly and silently. Lichen drops of hemlock, cedar, yew branches. His rubber boots leave no mark on the spongy soil, which is so green it seems that the sky dropped a foam snow.

Neasloss claiming a place under a tree, hemlock and pulls his hood tight against the incessant rain. He saw a polar bear near here recently, he said, but there is no guarantee it will reemerge. In just over three, he noted in the River. A white bear waddles down the bank. This bear is larger and safer than the bear Grip Bell Island. Fat rolls her belly. It seems to be a coat two sizes too big. It is perched on a small pool, slots, and with both feet and find a companion three-foot salmon chubby.

Researchers have recently shown that the spirit bear white coat gives you an advantage when fishing. Although polar bears and black tend to have the same success rate at night when the Bears make a lot of fishing and scientific Reimchen Dan Klink University of Victoria has noticed a difference in the day. The polar bear catch salmon in their third attempts. The only time blacks have achieved room. "Salmon are less concerned about a white object, seen from below the surface," speculates Reimchen. In part, this may answer the question of why white skin continues to grow today. If the salmon is a coastal bear primary fat source of protein and a successful woman can enjoy the salmon to store more fat for the winter, which could increase the number of puppies they can produce.

As the rain continues to fall Princess Royal Island, and I feel the spirit Neasloss bear eating salmon goodness. When the gains are so good, the Bears can turn a fussy eater. Some people only eat the fish head. Others may cut the belly and sucks cock. Some people are greedy. "Once I saw the spirit of the 80 bear eating salmon in one sitting," says Neasloss. This bear wants to dine privately. Rotate the teeth and the salmon runs straight uphill, hidden somewhere unseen. Twenty minutes later, the return of the bear, fish NABS seconds, and brings them into the woods. This goes for hours, until the daylight fades from the sky.

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