An extremely rare white grizzly bear has been spotted in Banff, Canada, and has been shared across social media as it is so unusual for being completely white.
A video was shared online on April 29 in which a grizzly bear is shown roaming around Banff, Canada. Although it’s a fairly common sight in the country to see grizzly bears wandering about, that’s because people are used to seeing brown-haired grizzly bears.
Bear biologist Sarah Elmeligi spoke to local outlet The Star and confirmed that the sight of a white grizzly bear is an incredibly rare sight to behold. Typically, she said a grizzly bear is well-known for being brown and very large, with the coat generally ranging from light tan to a dark brown. They also have extra-long claws and a hump near their shoulders in order to provide extra strength when digging.
Seen originally being spotted, it has been caught on camera further and Bow Valley Network have filmed the white grizzly, asking for people to comment potential names for the bear on their Facebook page. In the end, it was decided that it would be called Nakoda the White Grizzly.
Let's name this bear. Banff's White Grizzly Bear needs a name. Write your suggestion in the comments. After a few days we shall evaluate the results and the name with the most likes wins. This is a very special bear so if you are lucky enough to see it, please keep your distance and let's have some fun naming this bear. #banff#grizzlybear#whitegrizzly#bowvalleynetwork🤳@stephs_world_xo
Posted by Bow Valley Network on Monday, 18 May 2020
On Facebook, Bow Valley Network wrote: “Nakoda is a name originally from the Indigenous people of Banff. The name means ‘Friend’ or ‘Ally’ in the native language of the three aboriginal tribes of the area—Bearspaw, Chiniki, and Wesley.”
However, the Facebook post then warned: “[Nakoda] is a very special bear and as always, if you see it in the wild, do not disturb it by getting too close. We all want Nakoda the White Grizzly to eventually become Nakoda the ‘Great’ White Grizzly of Banff National Park area.”
Nakoda isn’t the only famous bear in the area, and will now follow the same path as The Boss, a 660-pound male grizzly bear, and Split Lip, a large grizzly who has apparently eaten other bears in Banff National Park.
The Guardian got into contact with wildlife experts and they claim that Nakoda’s existence has been known of since 2017. They said that the public is only just hearing about it because of recent viral posts.
A wildlife conservationist with Parks Canada, Jon Stuart-Smith, told The Star: “It’s an amazing thing to see such a unique [creature] but we hope people can realize that it highlights the conservation concerns with the species as a whole.”
The conservation then urged that visitors do not stop their cars if they are to see the unusual white grizzly bear and to keep and maintain a distance.