Monday, May 2, 2011

The Blues

Did you know that there are 16 sub-species of black bear in North Ameraica? Did you know that 8 of those species live in Britsh-Columbia?
One of the rarest is the Glacier Bear otherwise known as the Blue Bear. They can be found in southeastern Alaska, northwestern British Columbia and the southwest Yukon. The Glacier Bear is a rare color phase of the Coastal Black Bear. This color ranges from a slightly frosted black, to a steel blue-gray, with some being light gray, usually with a darker face. The undercoat of the glacier bears is a rich blue-black, while the outer guard hairs are long and white (or light yellow) with silver tips. This color variation probably evolved during the last ice age when populations were isolated along the unfrozen sections of the coastline, due to the biological process of genetic drift (random fluctuations in the genetic composition of a small population). The blue-gray color is ideal camouflage against the backdrop of frozen ice - the bears are nearly impossible to spot unless they are moving. Unfortunately, this color phase is on the decline. Immigration of non-glacier black bears and emigration of glacier bears across the now unfrozen landscape, are causing the gene frequency to be eliminated in the face of more dominant color phases, as the two mingle and mate.

Here are all the sub-species:
Kermode or Spirit bear (Western Canada)
Vancouver black bear
Queen Charlotte black bear
Newfoundland black bear
Glacier bear or blue bear (Alaska & British Columbia)
Kenai black bear (Alaska)
Dall black bear (Alaska)
Cinnamon bear (central U.S. and Canada)
Olympic black bear (western coast of Canada & U.S.)
Florida black bear
New Mexico black bear
East Mexico black bear
West Mexico black bear
Louisiana black bear
Minnesota black bear
Eastern black bear

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