Posted by: cherylyoung | August 31, 2013

Princess Royal Island is located amongst the isolated inlets of Canada’s world famous Great Bear Rainforest

This is an extremely remote area of British Columbia,

 520 kilometers north of Vancouver and 200 kilometers

south of Prince Rupert, accessible only by boat or air.

Aside from the Tsimshiam, who once inhabited a coastal

 village on the island but now no longer live here, almost

no people have entered the inland rainforest of Princess

Royal Island.

 

Princess Royal Island is best known as being home to the

 legendary white Kermode Bear, Spirit Bear of the North

 Coast of British Columbia.

These magnificent bears are not found anywhere else

 in the entire world.

 

The Kermode bear (Ursus americanus “kermodei”) is a

beautiful white bear that is only found in the rain forests

 of the north coast of British Columbia.

 

 The Kermode bear is not an albino, nor is it a polar bear

, but rather a pale colour form of the black bear.

 There is a unique double recessive gene required by

 both parents in order to produce a white bear.

 

While black bears are predominantly black, they also

 come in shades of brown, blonde, cinnamon, auburn,

smoky grey, and white.

 

 Black bears may have offspring and siblings of varying

 colours.

 

The Kermode Bear was named in the early 1900s in

 honour of Francis Kermode, a zoologist with the British

 Columbia Provincial Museum at the time, who

conducted the first studies into the origins of the

 white bear.

 First Nation legend states that their creator, the Raven,

created the white bear as a reminder of the last ice age,

 and decreed that these bears would live in peace and

 harmony forever.

 

 As a result of isolation and being undisturbed for

 thousands of years, the bears here have no instinctive

 fear of people.

 

 The bears appear quite mellow and gentle toward

 humans, offering humankind a unique insight into

 truly wild bears.

 

Spirit bears are found predominantly on Princess Royal

Island, Gribbell Island, and along the shores of Douglas

 Channel, but the bear’s range extends across an area of

 approximately 7.2 million hectares, bounded by the

 communities of Prince Rupert and Stewart to the north,

 Hazelton to the east, and Terrace, Kitimat, and

 Bella Coola to the south.

 

 Kermode bears have also been spotted as far inland as

Liard River Hot Springs.

Hunting of Kermode Bears in B.C. is banned, but because

 black bears can produce white offspring, there is a

strong case for protection of all black bears within the

 kermode’s known range.

While the bears are prote cted from hunting, there is

still no sign of protection of their dwindling habitat from

logging.

 

Conservationists are calling for the creation of Spirit Bear

 Park, an area of pristine rainforests incorporating

 Princess Royal Island, where about ten percent of the

bears are white.

 

 The Spirit Bear Wilderness Conservancy Proposal calls for

 protection of Princess Royal Island, Pooley Island, and

 the adjacent watersheds, Carter, Green, Yule, Khutze,

 and the Aaltanhash, which combine to make up the

 proposed 248,000-hectare wilderness area, the last large

 area of intact temperate rainforest in the world.

The island has a diverse habitat, ranging from sandy

 beaches, lowland old-growth rainforest, subalpine

 parklands, and alpine tundra; all interspersed with

 fiords, estuaries, and lakes.

 Princess Royal’s geographical centerpiece is a 60-km

 long fiord, the Laredo Inlet, which nearly bisects the

 southern two thirds of the island.

 

 This long, protected anchorage offers spectacular

scenery and an estuary at the Bay of Plenty.

 Many of Princess Royal’s salmon spawning streams and

 lakes drain into Laredo Inlet, providing essential

 nutrients for the island’s inhabitants.

 

The long shoreline has significant salt marshes,

kelp beds, and other habitat for aquatic life.

BC’s coastal temperate rainforests are characterized by

some of the oldest and largest trees on earth, the most

 common of which are Sitka spruce, red cedar,

 western hemlock, amabilis and Douglas fir.

 

Trees can tower up to 300 feet and grow for more than

 1,500 years.

The biological abundance of BC’s coastal rainforests are

 the result of over 10,000 years of evolution, which began

 when the glaciers of the Pleistocene Epoch melted.

These coastal forests have evolved to their biological

 splendour because natural disturbances, such as fires,

 happen infrequently, and are usually small in scale.

The rain forest of the central coast of British Columbia is

 under extreme pressure from logging companies that

have set their unscrupulously greedy eyes on these

 diminishing rain forests, and the centuries-old tree

s that are so critical to wildlife and the ecosystem of

the area.

 Interfor (Vancouver based International Forest Products)

 is actively engaged in clearcutting, blasting and road

 building on Princess Royal Island, as evidenced by aerial

 photographs taken by Greenpeace in February 2001.

This evidence contradicts Interfor’s continued assurance

 to the public to the contrary.

 

 The Raincoast Conservation Society is one of the many

organizations working to save this part of British

 Columbia’s heritage.

There is a scheduled commercial service to Vancouver

 International Airport, with a flying time of 90 minutes

 between Prince Rupert and Vancouver.

 

There are float plane, helicopter, ferry and water taxi

 services between Prince Rupert and most of the smaller

 communities throughout the region.

 

Travellers heading north from Port Hardy on

 Vancouver Island can hop aboard BC Ferries for the

 scenic journey through the Inside Passage to

 Prince Rupert.

 

View maps of Prince Rupert and

Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands).

Location: Princess Royal Island is located 520 kilometers

 

 north of Vancouver and 200 kilometers south of

 Prince Rupert, accessible only by boat or air.

PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TO YESTEDAY’S BLOG IF YOU WANT

KNOW MORE ABOUT THESE MAGNIFICENT ANIMALS AND

CLICK ON THE LINK TO THE RAINCOAST CONSERVATION

FOUNDATION IF YOU WANT TO HELP.

ALSO CHECK OUT MY FACEBOOK TO SEE SOME

OF THE VIDEOS ABOUT THE BEARS AND RAINFOREST

CHERYL YOUNG, REALTOR, VICTORIA BC.

cbythesea

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