Rare All-White Grizzly Bear Spotted Beside Road In Canada
The super-rare animal, which has been named Nakoda, was spotted by a hotel worker while she was driving down the road in the Banff National Park with her husband and two sons.
Cara Clarkson, an employee at the Rimrock Resort Hotel, spotted the all-white bear with a sibling looking for food by the side of the highway.
Outside of the fact that this is an incredible extraordinary bear, it certainly shouldn't be hanging about at the side of the Trans-Canada Highway.
Ordinarily, Clarkson said she wouldn't have stopped for fear of disturbing the bears, but decided that this was a 'once in a lifetime opportunity'.
There's a few scientists and animal experts out there who are glad she did, because this is the sort of thing they're fascinated by.
Clarkson told St. Albert Today: "We were like 'holy smokes! That is full on a white grizzly bear."
Now, while it's not unusual to see grizzly bears that have noticeably divergent colours of coat, completely white grizzly bears are as rare as hen's teeth.
Former Parks Canada researcher Mike Gibeau told the same publication: "I have never in all my time working with grizzly bears - since the early 1980s - seen a white grizzly bear.
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"I've seen a really, really blond grizzly, but never a white one."
While early speculation suggested Nakoda could be an albino bear - which would also be pretty uncommon - Gibeau said that the bear would have had different colour eyes and skin if this were the case.
Instead, the bear's unique hairdo is the result of a recessive gene in the species that is nearly never seen in a wild bear.
Seth Cherry, from Parks Canada, told Global News: "It's certainly the only one I'm aware of that's been seen in our Rocky Mountain National Park."
The bears seem to have ended up by the side of the road as they searched for food, and climbed over a fence meant to keep them away from the highways.
Parks Canada's Jon Stuart-Smith said: "This is a unique bear, and I certainly have never seen one before, but we ask people can appreciate that it's out there and do things to ensure its safety, like not stopping on the highway."
The park officials hope that once the bears exhaust their search for food around there, they'll just blend back into the wilderness.
Stuart-Smith continued: "We hope they move onto other locations and then eventually move up into higher elevations."
Featured Image Credit: Sonia Nicholl/Parks Canada
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