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A Rare Spirit Bear Sighting

"Spirit Bear" in British Columbia

Spirit Bear in British Columbia. Photo by Justin Hofman.

It was a busy day for guests aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird last week while sailing through British Columbia’s Inside Passage on our Alaska, British Columbia, and San Juan Islands expedition.

Saturday morning was spent with a group of killer whales and a humpback whale, which splashed and rolled off the bow of the ship. Later, after a Zodiac excursion and a naturalist-led walk on Susan Island, we continued heading northbound for Alaska. During dinner that evening, an excited call came from the bridge—“Spirit bear on starboard side!”—and everyone rushed onto the decks to witness this rare event. Kermode bears, also called “spirit bears,” are black bears with white or cream-colored fur caused by a recessive gene that’s unique to the species. Found on only a few islands in the world, they are seldom seen. For about 15 minutes, our delighted guests watched as the bear meandered along the coast before disappearing into the woods.

Book your own voyage to see incredible wildlife on National Geographic Expeditions’ 12-day Alaska, British Columbia, and San Juan Islands trip.



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