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18/06/2016, 09:15

Black cub with completely completely white fur is found

When is a black bear not a black bear? When it's white.

At least that's the case with this cub, recently spotted on a mountain in British Columbia.

Remarkably, the five-month-old black bear has cream-coloured fur, and was seen on Whistler-Blackcomb mountain playing with its mother.

The young animal was photographed by Arthur De Jong, an environmental planning manager, last Thursday.

This black bear cub with cream-coloured fur was recently spotted on a mountain in British Columbia

The five-month-old bear played with its mother on Whistler-Blackcomb mountain - and scientists are now trying to ascertain why it has such a light coat

One theory is that the young bear is an albino but bear experts would first need to see if it has pink-blue coloured eyes to confirm it

And bear experts are now trying to ascertain why it has such a rare coat.

One theory is that it is actually a Kermode (or 'spirit' bear), a white variant of the North American black bear which is found in Canada, according to CBC.

However, since it is does not have a black nose or pigmentation, others suggest it is an albino.

Biologists hope to get a good view of the cub's eyes, as a pink-blue colour would confirm this is the case.

'It's not white, its got a caramel, light, sort of brownish sheen to its fur,' De Jong told CBC.

'I've repeatedly heard from various bear experts that its (fur) colour is the result of recessive genes from both parents. The mom is very much a black bear,' he added.

Whistler bear expert Michael Allen said the white cub (above) is the first he has seen in the area in 23 years

Another theory is that it is actually a Kermode (or 'spirit' bear), a white variant of the North American black bear which is found in Canada

Sadly, there is a 50 per cent chance the cub will not survive its first year - and may even be killed by its own father.

When the mating season begins, males sometimes kill cubs to force the mother to change her patterns of movement.

A cub usually follows its mother for one or two years. She will not mate as long as she is nursing them.

But once a cub 'disappears', she can come on heat again in just a few days.

Whistler bear expert Michael Allen said the white cub is the first he has seen in the area in 23 years.

'I have seen cubs ranging [from] black, reddish-brown, chocolate-brown to blonde (after summer bleaching of coat) but never have [I] seen in this population a cub with pelage this light to almost white,' he wrote on his daily report.

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