Kermode bear to make public debut at BC Wildlife Park in Kamloops
Clover the Kermode bear is one of only a few hundred Kermode bears left in the world
Clover the Kermode Bear is getting ready for a debut at the BC Wildlife Park in Kamloops this weekend after the completion of a new habitat for the rare bear.
"It's the Hilton of animal enclosures," said manager Glen Grant. "Being a desert here in Kamloops, we cannot mimic the natural habitat, but we wanted to try to come as close to it."
- Rare Kermode 'spirit bear' moved to Kamloops wildlife park
- Bear watching more profitable than bear hunting, says study
The bear was originally captured and released in B.C.'s Northwest region, but kept coming back to human-populated areas, so it was trapped and transferred to the park 18 months ago.
The new enclosure is 1.13 hectares, featuring green space and two large pools with a stream that runs between them. Grant says it is five times larger than anything ever built at the wildlife park.
'Spirit bear' revered in aboriginal culture
The Kermode bear is often referred to as a 'spirit bear' because of its role in aboriginal culture and the belief the animal should be revered and protected.
The park has had ongoing discussions with groups that felt the bear should have been put back in the wild, but Grant said the bear is now habituated to humans for feed and companionship.
"Any fed bear is going to be a dead bear. But we can't change the history," said Grant.
"All we can make sure is that he is healthy for the future and can serve as an ambassador, so we can educate the public as to what not to do and what to do to avoid those bear human conflicts — and ensure all of his species can survive in their natural habitat in the future."
Grant expects big crowds this weekend, especially from tourism companies who have been contacting him about Clover for the past year and a half.