If you go down to the Alaskan woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise.
Because an exceptionally rare blonde bear has been sighted lumbering around the holiday lodges of Lake Clark National Park.
And in addition to strolling along the beach and frolicking in the grasslands, the three-year-old bear was even photographed inspecting a sign warning holidaymakers to watch out for grizzlies.
However, this furry animal is a white Kermode bear – and one of only 400 left in existence, identified by their stark blonde coats.
Kermodes, also known as spirit bears, are a subspecies of the American black bear and while they are often found in Canada’s British Colombia, they have been known to stray into neighboring Alaska.
These extraordinary shots of the creature were snapped by photographer Shayne McGuire who spotted it wandering around the resort she was staying in.
Named after Frank Kermode, the ex-director of the Royal British Colombia museum, the species have a rare genetic mutation which colors their fur blonde.
Yet they are not albino as their eyes and skin both have pigment.
Their recessive gene means that two blondes need to mate to produce another one, as mating with a black bear will result in a black cub.
And because there are so few blonde Kermodes in the wild, the species is finding it difficult to sustain itself.
The alternative name ‘spirit bear’ was given to the Kermodes by ancient tribesman who believed the animals were sacred.
They are omnivores and are known to guzzle down salmon in the summer months but, in hibernation season, are forced to survive on a diet of fruit and nuts.
But their light-colored fur makes them better hunters than their black counterparts because they do not stick out as much in the daylight.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Jack Elsom