I missed it at the time, but The Globe and Mail published an opinion piece about a group of people that are upset about the hunting of spirit bears. Given how rare they are I’d be upset too, except for the small detail that no one is hunting spirit bears. Hunting spirit bears is illegal. So what’s the issue?
The issue is that we allow people to hunt black bears which are not in any way endangered. Spirit bears are of course really ordinary black bears except that they have an expressed recessive gene that makes their fut white. So approximately 1 in 10 black bears carries the recessive gene without expressing it. If two of these bears were to get together over some fresh salmon and some Barry White, we might get another spirit bear. So the man quote in the article, Doug Neasloss, thinks the black bear hunt should be ended.
Assuming you don’t drive the population too low, hunting black bears and not spirit bears actually increases the survivability of spirit bears. White fur now makes bears effectively bullet proof which you might say is a strong advantage in natural selection.
As a further irony, Mr. Neasloss’ eco-tours are making black bears more comfortable with humans and making them easier to hunt. Not good…