Rare white bear cub spotted by Alberta wildlife photographers
'As far as I know it's the only one in the area'
Alberta wildlife photographer Abdulla Moussa captured a rare photo last week of a white, black bear cub in Kananaskis.
"I think it's pretty rare, like I don't know that there is another one in Kananaskis Country that park staff are aware of," said Moussa. "To spend some time to kind of observe them, the cubs playing around and … just hanging out, that was really neat.
"As far as I know it's the only one in the area."
Moussa said a conservation officer spotted the family of black bears last year but they hadn't been seen since, so he was happy to catch them on camera.
"When I [first posted it to social media] somebody reached out to me and said, 'I'm so glad they're OK. When I saw them I was a little worried that the little one might not make it.'"
He said it's not a Spirit Bear — a genetic variant of the black bear — but just a black bear with a different colour coat.
Moussa is an amateur wildlife photographer — he just moved to Canmore, Alta., last year from Ontario — and he says it's been an amazing experience photographing animals in their natural environment.
He stressed that it's important that wildlife stay wild, and that people trying to capture photos give the animals their space.
"It's really trying to be a fly on the wall and just kind of observe, not just for the photography, but as a learning [experience]. It's really an incredible thing to be around wildlife in their own environment, it's really amazing," he said.
While catching the bear family was a highlight, it's not the only interesting wildlife encounter Moussa's had.
In September, he photographed a moose whose antlers were tangled in barbed wire, and was able to help conservation officers free the animal.
Another photographer, Rafael Pernia, spotted the bears out and about on Sunday. He said he saw the mom and two cubs near a lake in the area around 11 a.m