Every week for Throwback Thursday we’ll post an image from the (slowly uploading) archive – a scanned slide or still – I took from one of my family adventures as a kid to the wilds of Yellowstone and the Canadian Rockies, or from my trips as a teen to the Great Bear Rainforest to help document the spirit bear.
Today’s photo: Salmon Bear
They say the rainforest of Canada’s west coast is the salmon forest – the largest tract of intact temperate rainforest on the planet supported and nourished by the nutrients that come from rotting salmon.
Though salmon are the lynchpin of the Great Bear Rainforest, without the bears, there would be no mechanism for getting high volumes of salmon from the streams to the forest floor. And even with wolves, grizzlies and black bears all being excellent salmon fishers, it is the spirit or Kermode bear that is truly the salmon bear.
The white fur of the spirit bear enables it to blend in more easily on the rapids of streams where the salmon spawn, giving it an adaptive advantage in not only sustaining the subspecies, but sustaining its forest home. For me, the spirit bear will always be the salmon bear.