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Save the Spirit Bear

Ordinarily, the Spirit Bear might be something you’d hear about at Weird Animal Report. A white, non-polar bear must be some kind of albino creature, right? On the contrary, the Spirit Bear is really a type of black bear. One in ten black bears carry the recessive gene that makes the bears have white coats instead of black coats, resulting in the very rare bears considered sacred by many different native peoples. In fact, the National Resource Defense Council even uses the Spirit Bear in their logo.

Unfortunately, these bears—and there are only about 400 or less of them living today—are not considered sacred by all. This month, a trophy hunt is to commence in British Columbia, where the bears can be found. In fact, 98% of the bear’s range is included in the hunt. Conservationists worry that the hunt will push the Spirit Bear even closer to extinction, dwindling their already tiny population into nearly nothing.

While you might know that Spirit Bears are supposed to be protected from such hunts under law, this does not guarantee their survival—especially under such pointless trophy hunts. Spirit Bears still have black bear mothers, without whom they cannot survive. If left orphans, Spirit Bear cubs, like any bear cubs, would simply starve to death. And trophy hunts are not the same hunts that hunters often provide the same excuse for over and over again—“It’s a sport and we use up all of the meat to feed and clothe ourselves.”

As archaic and definitely non-sporty that is, trophy hunts are simply to do just that—make a trophy from dead bears. Yes, it’s very sick that some men (and women; hello, Sarah Palin) take pride in stuffing and mounting dead animals on their walls and floors like cavemen—hopefully they’ve left other practices from our cave-dwelling days behind, though sometimes the evidence indicates otherwise—but it’s even sicker that they would do so when an entire type of animal faces such a threat of extinction.

The NRDC is hosting a campaign to tell the premier of British Columbia to halt this bear hunt. They are calling for protection to be ordered for the whole bear population, not just Spirit Bears, in order to preserve their numbers. If you’d like to sign on to this letter and voice your opposition to the trophy hunt of the Spirit Bear, you can do so by clicking here.