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It's not pawsible, is it? Brown and polar bears on a hunting trip together? 

By The Siberian Times reporter
10 August 2016

So what caused this abearation spotted by tourists in Kamchatka?

This is a brown bear mother with her two cubs. One is brown and the other pure white. Picture: Tatiana Zhukovskaya

Reports recently have revealed mating between grizzly and polar bears in North America, and it is claimed climate change is bringing the two species closer together. 

A similar global warming effect could be happening in Siberia, with brown and polar bears finding love. And it's true that polar bears do very occasionally reach the Kamchatka peninsula in the extreme east of Russia. 

Yet the explanation here seems different. This is a brown bear mother with her two cubs. One is brown and the other pure white. They were spotted by tourists on a rafting trip on the Bustraya River, in the Ust-Bolsherechensk district of Kamchatka.

Senior research fellow at the Kronotsky Nature Reserve Alexander Nikanorov said: 'I have been working in the reserve for more than 40 years and observing the bears. 

White brown bear

Soon the animal will begin its 'adult life', and it is possible this 'white brown bear' will pass on its colour to future generations? Picture: Visit Kamchatka

'This is the first case of meeting with the bear of such a colour. It's not an albino, of course, because he has a black nose, rather than pink, as it should be if the bear is albino. But it is very white.'

He believes the explanation is a rare mutation. The bear is about three years old, he said. Soon the animal will begin its 'adult life', and it is possible this 'white brown bear' will pass its colour to future generations?

'On Kamchatka we have in the past spotted brown bears of unusual colours - pale fawn, ginger, and light brown.' 

A question for the wildlife experts here is whether the bear will be helped or hindered as it goes it alone. Certainly, as the picture shows, the bears mother had no problems accepting her white cub. 

The unusual bear was spotted by tourists on a rafting trip on the Bustraya River, in the Ust-Bolsherechensk district of Kamchatka. Picture: The Siberian Times


Comments (11)

This is a white grizzly, a spirit bear.
Rebecca, US
09/07/2019 09:39
Kermode bear, also known as a "spirit bear."
Sophia, USA
17/02/2019 08:23
There is another reason for the white cub being with the brown bear mother and her cub, but the only way to determine for sure is to get blood work on the white and either of the brown bears. The brown bear could have picked up the white cub as a cub that had lost it's mother, either to her in a fight or whatever. As I said before, all it would take is some blood work, it would also be a great time to place a tracking collar in order to see exactly how far they do venture out rather than guess at it or assume, as they did in the article...
Cloudynative, Woodbridge, Virginia USA
23/08/2016 22:38
Doesn't it make more sense that this offspring has a polar bear father? If you look at pizzlies (cross between polar bear and grizzlies), you will see that the offspring can be white or brown or something in between.
Vanessa R, Germany
15/08/2016 18:57
Totally agree with Benedikt!
Pamela Tetarenko, League City, USA
12/08/2016 22:23
hopefully he and the rest will be left alone. and not hunted down by picture crazy tourists. just to get their two minutes fame on the Internet or newspapers.
Benedikt, Moscow
12/08/2016 06:00
Spirit Bears do not have black noses and they are usually off white and are the leucistic form of the black bear. This bear is much whiter.
Elizabeth Wildon, Bedford, UK
11/08/2016 13:24
I was also thinking "Spirit Bear". I agree with Edith that Kamchatka looks beautiful and thank you for the photographs. What a wonderful rafting experience it must have been. I wonder if this is a relative of the Kermode bear? From Wikipedia - "The Kermode bear, also known as the "spirit bear" (particularly in British Columbia), is a subspecies of the American black bear living in the Central and North Coast regions of British Columbia, Canada. It is the official provincial mammal of British Columbia."
Pamela Tetarenko, League City, USA
11/08/2016 09:04
Did you even read the article, Darwin? No, it's not an albino: it's the product of a recessive gene as are the Spirit Bears of coastal British Columbia.
Steelheader, Terrace, Canada.
11/08/2016 08:57
LQQKs like an albino grizzly bear.
Darwin, USA
11/08/2016 02:16
In Canada the native people called "spirit bear." It has some genetic mutations and the color white.
Kamchatka is beautiful, thanks' for the photos.
Edith, Hamilton Canada
10/08/2016 20:10

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