White Grizzly Roaming Banff, Canada Draws Crowds

   06.12.20

An all white grizzly roaming Banff, Canada has emerged, and instantly gained national attention.

Photos and video of the rare grizz have been popping up since late May, when it was spotted near the road by a family during a road trip. The video was posted on YouTube by Tj Campbell, which shows the bear fussing with something on a train track while the train is approaching. The bear eventually vacates the tracks, but the family used the opportunity to snap some high quality photos of the bear as well.

Here are even more images of the rare white grizz roaming Banff:

White grizzlies are very rare.

Not to be confused with Polar bears or the West Coast Kermode, or “spirit bear” – which is actually a variant of a black bear – grizzlies in the Rockies are typically dark brown to blondish colored. So when word got out around town about the bear near Banff National Park, people just couldn’t control themselves from flocking to try and catch a glimpse. According to local news outlet The Star, “Park officials say they’ve already encountered tourists pulling over on the side of the Trans-Canada Highway” waiting to see if the bear shows up.

“It’s not something that we necessarily wanted to draw attention to, ourselves,” said Jon Stuart-Smith, a human-wildlife conflict specialist with Parks Canada. “But we were expecting that, at some point, it would start to draw attention.”

And then of course, along came a local Facebook page for the area called ‘Bow Valley Network’ where a ‘contest’ was held to give the bear a name. It seems rather harmless, but The Star reports “experts are torn on whether people being on a first-name basis with the huge animals helps visitors understand them better, or just view their behaviour in confusingly human terms.”

For example, one bear who’s known by name around town was recently scrutinized for its cannibalistic behavior, but news flash; THAT’S WHAT BEARS DO.

“Seeing that behavior.. in a moralistic sense is something that we try to avoid, because it’s part of the biology of the species, and it’s not our place to judge,” Stuart-Smith said.

Park officials urge caution to visitors, and say if they do encounter the animal to give it plenty of space.

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