|The Spirit Bears of Hartley Bay, British Columbia
with Jackline and Elston Hill
The Spirit Bear is a subspecies of the North American Black Bear living in the Central and North Coast regions of British
Columbia, Canada. This color morph is due to recessive genes common in the population. They are not albinos. It is estimated
that there are fewer than 400 Spirit Bears in the coast area that stretches from Southeast Alaska southwards to the northern
tip of Vancouver Island. Spirit bears hold a prominent place in the oral stories of the indigenous peoples of the area.
Our trip began with an invitation from wildlife photographer Daisy Gilardini to join her at the First Nation's village at Hartley
Bay. Our guide was Marven Robinson. Marven has been guiding people to see the Spirit Bear for the last twenty years and is
the most knowledgeable guide for these bears. Recently he was the guide for the National Geographic feature story on these
|Marven Robinson with his niece Jo.
Beginning in late August, Pink Salmon and Chum spawn in the rivers in the vicinity of Hartley Bay. The bears gorge themselves
on the salmon making it possible for us to find and photograph these unique bears.
Below are links to our narrative and photos from our encounter with the Spirit Bears. If you click the first link, it will take you to
the first page. At the bottom of each page is a link to the next page in the narrative. If the photos are too large for your
browser, simultaneously click on the Control and Minus Key. Or, click the Control and Plus key to make it bigger.