British Columbia

Rare Kermode spirit bear hit by car in northwestern B.C.

It was a close call for a Kermode bear and her cubs after the mother bear was hit by a car in northwestern B.C.

Video shows white-coloured bear with two black cubs after accident

A female Kermode or spirit bear appears to be okay after being hit by a car near Smithers. (B.C. Conservation Officer Service)

It was a close call for one of British Columbia's rarest and most cherished animals.

A white Kermode bear, also known as a spirit bear because of its white colour, was hit by a car on Highway 37, north of the village of Kitwanga in the northwestern region of the province. 

B.C. conservation officer Flint Knibbs says the wildlife reporting line received a number of calls about a Kermode sow bear in distress, so he headed out to see if he could find her and her two black cubs.

"I've never been in a situation where I've had to put (a bear) down and I wasn't looking forward to that," Knibbs told CBC over the phone. 

As luck would have it, when Knibbs discovered the bears, they all appeared uninjured, as evidenced by the video he took from the safety of his truck.

"At one point in the video she even gives one of the cubs a little swat, so in my opinion she was doing fine and didn't need any interference from us."

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It's estimated there are fewer than 400 Kermode bears living on the north and central coasts of the province. Seeing one is extremely rare.

Kermodes are actually black bears, but possess a double recessive gene that gives them their white colour. 

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