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White Bear Cub Spotted, But is It an Albino or Kermode?

Kathy Jenkins/Whistler Blackcomb

A rare white bear cub was recently spotted in Whistler, B.C. For one bear expert, this is a first in 23 years of research.

Tour guide Kathy Jenkins came across a startling sight the first week of June while working the mountains of Whistler, B.C. – an almost pure white cub out with a resident black bear mother. The age of the cub is estimated to be five months.

Michael Allen, a Whistler bear expert, says this is the first he has seen or heard of in 23 years of research in the area. “I have seen cubs ranging [from] black, reddish-brown, chocolate-brown to blonde (after summer bleaching of coat) but, never have [I] seen in this population, a cub with pelage this light to almost white,” he wrote earlier this week in an entry posted to his daily bear viewing report.

Whether the cub is an albino or kermode is up for speculation. The latter inhabit B.C. north and central coasts. Experts are leaning toward albino, due to the lack of a black nose or pigmentation, although others feel the fur color may be a result of recessive genes from both parents. The jury appears to be still out.

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White Bear Cub Spotted, But is It an Albino or Kermode?