Kermode features & merchandising help save habitat of rare west-coast white bear

photo copyright Heather Conn

Canada’s rare Kermode bear

After joining a small group of eco-tourists on British Columbia’s Princess Royal Island, I was lucky enough to see and photograph the white Kermode bear in remote wilderness.

Canada is the only nation in the world that’s home to this rare form of black bear, whose fur is white due to a genetic abnormality (it’s not an albino).

Inspired by this beautiful animal threatened by poaching and logging, I wrote about it in the Vancouver, BC magazine Shared Vision and the U.S. publication Bears (click here to read the article).

I also created postcards, bookmarks, greeting cards, and stationery to promote public awareness about the bear. I gave a portion of the proceeds of sales to the Valhalla Wilderness Society. This environmental group, based in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia, has worked many hard years to protect the vulnerable coastal habitat of the kermode from logging.

A portion of the kermode’s habitat, part of the region known as the Great Bear Rainforest, is now protected, thanks to the committed efforts of many environmentalists, which prompted a 2006 B.C. government decision. But a key watershed, vital to the bear’s survival, was not included in this conservation measure. For more information, check out the website Spirit Bear Youth Coalition.

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