Everything you need to know about spirit bear holidays

Bright white against the dense green forests on the coast of British Columbia, these ‘spirit’ bears are a sight to behold. You explore the coast on an expedition ship that delves into untouched fiords and plies through peaceful waters, pierced by inquisitive humpbacks.


Almost exclusive to the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia, spirit bears feed on vegetation, abundant with bulbs, fruit, insects and rodents, as well as delicious salmon throughout the summer to fatten up for the long cold winters.


Watching these beautiful creatures swiping fish from spawning streams with their strong jaws and claws is an incredible sight, and in fact, spirit bears appear more successful than the blacks at this - perhaps owing to their colour being less obvious to the fish below the water.


These white black bears are a sight to behold against the vivid greens of the great bear rainforest.


Expert view: jessica tiffin

On the right itinerary, you can see black bears, grizzly bears, spirit bears and humpback whales all in one awesome trip!

Canada has such a wealth of incredible wildlife, it's a wonder why more people don't explore there.

the spirit bear

Kermode Bears are also known as Spirit or Ghost Bears due to the mystical white coats that cloak about one in ten of the species. These are not albinos (they have black noses, eye sockets and paw pads), they are actually a subspecies of the American black bear found only in central and north British Columbia. Their white coat, which is actually more of a cream or dirty vanilla colour, is thought to be due to a recessive gene which must be carried by both parents for a white cub to be produced.


Spirit bears have a prominent place in Canadian First Nations and American Indian mythology; some believing their white coat is a reminder of the hardship of the ice age, created by the master of the universe. In fact their very survival could be down to them never being spoken of, so poachers wouldn’t know of their existence.


Named after Francis Kermode, who was the first to research these magnificent animals, spirit bears fear the massive grizzlies, often backing away from prime fishing spots to give them room. Despite this, they do share their territory with them and it is possible as a keen bear enthusiast to see them at the same time. Females give birth to an average of two, denned in hollow trees or hillside dugouts, lined with twigs, dried grass and leaves for insulation and comfort. Cubs can weigh up to a pound when they are born, males growing to 250 to 300 pounds and females to 125 to 175 pounds.


About 10 per cent of the spirit bear population is completely white; in fact black coloured parents can sometimes be seen with white offspring if they carry the recessive gene.

Why book with us

We are destination specialists

Our team of specialists have extensive on-the-ground knowledge and have all lived, guided or explored in great detail the destinations that they sell. They will design your journey around you, at the right place at the right time.

We are wildlife specialists

As a leading specialist operator we have excellent partnerships with naturalists and conservationists. We know our wildlife and do what we can to preserve its natural habitat.

We really care about our destinations

At Natural World Safaris we frequently monitor the social, economic and environmental impact of our travel operations to ensure we are at the forefront of a sustainable and ethical tourism industry. 

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