Saturday, September 29, 2012

Spirit Bears and Woolly Mammoths


Don't go down to the woods, today. . .


Mother Grizzly Bear and cubs at coastal Dump*, DGH Collection


In the Great Bear Rainforest, a vast area has been purchased to protect grizzly and black bears from trophy hunting enthusiasts. This purchase also protects the Kermode or spirit bears (black bears with white coats). A bear hunt has been banned this year by coastal First Nations from Haida Gwaii down the central coast of British Columbia. Other parts of the Great Bear Rainforest may not have these restrictions, check online for hiking and guide information.

Credit: The Vancouver Sun, Sept. 17, 2012, Environment, NGO buys bear hunting rights, by Judith Lavoie, Victoria Times Colonist. NGO=Non governmental organizations

Good news for the bears: The Raincoast Conservation Foundation now controls hunting in the heart of spirit bear country. (Size=28,000 sq km + 3500 newly acquired sq km.; measurements from news article)

 

***

Spirit Bears


The Kermode bear (kerr-MO-dee), or spirit bear is a subspecies of the American Black Bear. It's noted for one-tenth of their population having white or cream coats. The Kermode bear's range includes the north and central coast of British Columbia and inland toward Hazelton, BC.


A male Kermode bear can weigh 500 lb (225 kg) or more and stands 6 feet tall. Females are slightly smaller, weighing in at about 300 lb (135 kg). Spirit bears, because of their ghost-like appearance, hold a prominent place in the oral stories of the Canadian First Nations and Native American lore.
 

National Geographic estimates the spirit bear population to be between 400-1000 individual bears. In their information, they suggest "the spirit bear may owe its survival to the protective traditions of the First Nations, who never hunted the animals or spoke of them to fur trappers".


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kermode_bear Kermode Bear


*This photo shown previously in the post The Right Place - Must have been the Write Time on my Rainforest Writing blog.

 

****


Woolly Mammoths

 
Mammuthus primigenius: The woolly mammoth, or tundra mammoth is the last species of mammoth.

Woolly mammoth remains, which may contain living cells, have been discovered by an international science team in Siberia. Months of research will be needed before findings are conclusive, but what IF soft tissue DNA is found? Will cloning be far behind? These creatures are believed to have died out around 10,000 years ago, although small groups may have survived longer in Alaska and in Siberia.


Whether climatic change or overhunting by humans caused the mammoth's final demise in Earth's past, it's an amazing find for scientists today. I'll be watching for any news about the cloning part. Woolly mammoths were described in Jean Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear series.


Credit: Vancouver Sun, Science section, Sept. 12, 2012; Associated Press; Mammoth remains found in Siberian permafrost raise hopes for cloning.

***

Have you heard of spirit bears? What about cloning of the DNA of long-dead woolly mammoths? Do you remember Jurassic Park? Please share in the comments.


***

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mammoth

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woolly_mammoth

***

37 comments:

  1. Scientists should watch more movies. Imagine living on planet of the whooly mammoths. Not good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unless of course, we can domesticate them.

      Delete
  2. Living in the PNW for so long I have heard of spirit bears. I'm glad they are protected. Not sure I'm on board with cloning wooly mammoths though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cloning is a touchy subject whenever it's mentioned. I'm glad the bears are protected, too.

      Delete
  3. I know about both. Plus, my kids make me watch the Ice Age movies a lot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's funny, Bryan, but at least your kids will know what a woolly mammoth is from those movies. I'm pleased that you've heard of spirit bears too!

      Delete
  4. I googled Spirit Bears after reading your post. They are beautiful, but I would think, extremely visible, not good for them. Great photos on Google, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are beautiful and don't have the hump of the Grizzly bear. I saw the photos, too.

      If they ever have bear viewing in their natural habitat, I'm game. I'd love to photograph them.

      Delete
  5. I never heard of spirit bears. Thanks for teaching me something new.

    I saw that about the Mammoth and immediately thought Jurrassic Park.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like the fact that stories have been passed down about the spirit bears. Mammoth Park doesn't appeal to me either.

      Delete
  6. That would be scary if they somehow try to bring back wooly mammoths... We don't seem to have enough resources and space for the people and animals now.. what will happen if they return??? Very intriguing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would hope they would manage the cloning. They might serve for food, who knows?

      Delete
  7. For a minute, I thought your "spirit bears" were polar bears. It's good that you explained it and gave details about them. I learned something new! Thanks! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The spirit bears and polar bears have different shapes and sizes, but yes the colour of their fur could be confusing. Glad you learned something new.

      Delete
  8. Love that picture! I want so badly to capture some grizzlies on film some day.

    I hadn't heard of the spirit bear, but how fascinating. Thank you for sharing. Their stomping grounds are way north of me, but maybe some day. There's something inspirational about meeting a creature of "legend" in person (or viewing it in person, not so much meeting it).

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't want to meet a legend or any bear in the wild. How will I know if he's hungry?
      I'll admire them from afar. Safer that way.

      Delete
  9. I never heard of spirit bears, but I've heard about the woolly mammoth DNA. It might be interesting to clone one, but it could be bad too. I say go for it.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You must like the element of danger, Lee. (re-mammoths_

      In the spirit bears info, it says the natives who knew of the spirit bears never spoke of them to the hunters or trappers. Smart.

      Delete
  10. I haven't heard of spirit bears, and that's fascinating about the possible cloning of woolly mammoths. I remember a National Park in B.C. (Vancouver, I think) that I took a sky tram to and saw bears, eagles, a lumberjack show...Sound familiar? I forget its name. But this post brings it to mind.

    PS Thank you for your support.
    xoRobyn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In Vancouver, or rather North Vancouver, we have Grouse Mountain with a lumberjack show and the sky tram plus a ski village (in the winter). Is that the one? You can see Vancouver at your feet.

      Thanks for stopping by! I'll drop by your blog to reply later today.

      Delete
  11. I have never heard of the spirit bears. Thank you for the fascinating insight! I love Jurassic Park (and a lot of Michael Crichton, actually), both movie and book, although the sequels would have been better off not coming into the world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think a band of woolly mammoths would be as bad as reptiles gone bad.

      Spirit bears, on the other hand, speak to our sense of the unique.

      Delete
  12. This is the kind of research that would make for a great story -- now to let it percolate...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just might take that advice, Milo. I think Roland has written about a spirit bear story, but I'm sure I'd have a different version. . .
      Milo, check your email. I sent a message.

      Delete
  13. First, thank you so much for your caring comments during this past rather awful week for me. Then, I didn't know you had this other blog. I love it. Just the word Spirit Bear sends chills down my spine. In a good way. I am now a follower here too and will add it to my sidebar of favorite blogs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Much appreciated, Inger. We both like animals.

      The idea of a real Spirit Bear gives me a shiver, too. Something elevated to a higher plane than the survival stage.

      Delete
  14. I have heard of spirit bears. I think my kids' National Geographic magazine just had an article on them. I enjoyed this post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My interest was tweaked when I saw an article in the newspapers. I love anything that touches on lore or legend.

      Delete
  15. Welcome Kindness Project! Thanks for the follow.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I follow your other blog but am going to follow this one as well. I didn't know about spirit bears until hub and I drove across country to Wash. state via the Dakotas. Talk about buying books about Native Americans! And the lectures here and there. Oh, but I love spirit bears. I thought there were more than your numbers and felt a bit saddened. About mammoths -- I read about that discovery and immediately thought about cloning. Haven't decided if it would be good or bad but to touch the DNA from so long ago, wow!

    And I'm delighted your dad told the KKK to take a hike! And bravo for you for going to the movie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now that they're more protected, perhaps the Spirit Bear numbers will increase, Kittie. I'd rather see more of them and less of extremists.

      Delete
  17. DG, yes, it's Grouse Mountain. One of the lumberjacks was so darn cute I couldn't take my eyes off of him. I think there were some animals around there too. =)

    xoRobyn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a great place to see the city, with an occasional helicopter dropping off some important person. Others hike the Grouse Grind in the summer. I prefer the tram car.

      Nice to know you've been in my part of the country, Robyn.

      Delete
  18. How lovely that the grizzlies are protected. It's way too sad to watch animal populations dwindling without any government response.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. I read too many futuristic stories where all the animals except for those protected in reserves are gone. Decimated. It's scary to me. If the animals go, what's next?

      Delete
  19. Interesting post! It's great to find someone else in BC! Of course I've heard of Spirit Bears, (being from BC and all)but I didn't know much about their protection. That's fantastic news. If they were to clone a wooly mammoth, honestly, I'd totally want to see it. But I wonder how it would do in a modern environment...everything is so different than it was 10,000 years ago..the plants, the other animals, even the air is different...mind you, the clone wouldn't remember anything from then, but wouldn't it be hard wired to live in a totally different place than the earth is now? It would be really interesting though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting points you've mentioned.
      Speculation of all the what-ifs could fill a book. Thanks for dropping by!

      Delete

Comments will be reviewed before they show on the blog.