Friday, October 09, 2009

Black bear with blonde fur intrigues northern town

Seeing white polar bears in Canada's North is not unusual, but for folks in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, it was a surprise to see a black bear with blonde fur wandering around. Black bears, interestingly enough, can vary in colour from black to the occasionally seen white fur. First Nations people often refer to these animals as spirit bears.

CBC reports:
(Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, Canada ) Jayne Murray of Fort Smith said she took several opportunities to photograph the blond black bear, which was actually one of a trio of siblings. Murray first saw the bear in the Fort Smith area around early June, although she said there have been stories of similar sightings last year. She estimated the animal to be around 2½ years old. "It looks like a big teddy bear in a lot of ways, depending on how you see it," Murray told CBC News in an interview airing Friday. "Sometimes it looks a bit like a polar bear, sometimes it looks a bit like a panda, but it is a black bear." The blond black bear became not only a tourist attraction, with people feeding it regularly, but many also believed it was a spiritual creature, said Murray. "I know a lot of aboriginal people in the area were talking and saying, 'Please, you know, nobody hurt it. Look out for it, don't let anything bad happen to it,' because it was seen as a spirit guide," she said.READ MORE