A white grizzly bear Canada was spotted in Banff, Canada. The Rim Rock Resort captured footage of the extremely rare species of bear on April 29.
While bears are quite common in Canada, white bears are incredibly rare. The typical grizzly’s coat ranges in color from light tan to dark brown. Two notable anatomical features include extra-long claws and a hump near their shoulders that helps provide strength for digging.
Since the first sighting in April, the white grizzly has been spotted roaming in the Banff area. On May 18, the Bow Valley network shared the video on social media and tasked Facebook followers with voting on a name. The group landed on “Nakoda the White Grizzly.”
The network explained the origins of the name in a Facebook post. “Nakoda is a name originally from the Indigenous people of Banff. The name means ‘Friend’ or ‘Ally’ in the native language of the three aboriginal tribes of the area—Bearspaw, Chiniki, and Wesley,” Bow Valley Network wrote.
Wildlife Experts’ Reactions to the White Grizzly
While many in the area hope to lay eyes on the rare bear, wildlife experts warn against seeking out the grizzly. Bear biologist Sarah Elmeligi explains why people should keep their distance. “I think, as a society, we need to recognize that sometimes our drive to view wildlife is driven by a selfish need to take a photo and post it to social media or to share it with our friends and family,” Elmeligi said.
Echoing Elmeligi’s message, wildlife conservationist Jon Stuart-Smith says the bear sighting points to larger conservation issues. “It’s an amazing thing to see such a unique [creature] but we hope people can realize that it highlights the conservation concerns with the species as a whole,” Stuart-Smith told The Star.
Parks Canada records every reported bear sighting. Go here to see all the white grizzly sightings.