NEW HAZELTON, B.C. - RCMP in northern British Columbia are searching the woods for a documentary filmmaker from the United States.
Twenty-six-year-old Warren Sill from Ohio was filming a documentary on the kermode bears, a group of white-coated black bears, that inhabit the area.
Sill said he would be gone four or five days, but his parents say they haven't spoken to the man since July 4th.
Police in New Hazelton, B.C., say Sill's vehicle has been parked at the entrance of the Whiskey Creek Trail near Gull Creek since July 5th.
RCMP Const. Lesley Smith said authorities are most concerned that Sill is not "an avid outdoors man."
Smith said the search for Sill has been going on for three days with police, search and rescue crews and volunteers looking for the filmmaker.
In a moss-draped rain forest in British Columbia, towering red cedars live a thousand years, and black bears are born with white fur.
With a population of 400 to as many as a thousand, the spirit bear may owe its survival to the protective traditions of the First Nations, who never hunted the animals or spoke of them to fur trappers.
Two adult males tussle over a prime fishing spot in a river. "Bear scraps are rare events," says Doug Neasloss, a Kitasoo/Xai'xais wildlife guide. "There's a high potential for injury, so they avoid conflict if they can."
With a pink salmon in its jaws, a five-year-old male retreats into the forest before slitting open the fish's belly and eating only the eggs. Other bears may consume everything, from head to tail.
In a forest dominated by second-growth trees, a young bear settles into a mossy day bed at the foot of a giant, old-growth western red cedar. Bears use such day beds to rest and sleep after a meal.
These photos are in the August 2011 issue of National Geographic magazine, on newsstands now. For more pictures of the spirit bear, <a href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/08/kermode-bear/nicklen-photography" target="_hplink">visit National Geographic's website.</a>