NEWS

Rare 'white' black bear rescued by Calgary Zoo

09/04/2013 02:22 EDT | Updated 11/04/2013 05:12 EST
A rare "white" black bear that had become a problem animal in B.C. is now a resident at the Calgary Zoo.

It is one of a pair of young, white-furred bears that had acquired the habit of feeding on garbage in the town of Elkford, B.C.

The animals began lingering around Elkford in the fall of 2011. Conservation officers relocated the bears to the north, across the border in Alberta's Kananaskis Country. However, one of the bears returned to the town because of the easy availability of food.

When bears become habituated to people they are normally destroyed, but conservation officials made an exception in this case because of the rare colouring. The white fur of the bear is linked to a recessive gene and is not to be mistaken for B.C.'s Kermode bear, also known as the "spirit bear."

The bear arrived at the Calgary Zoo last Saturday and remains in quarantine. Zoo officials say the bear is adapting well to its new home but will not be on display until the 30-day quarantine period is over.

The zoo says the animal will become an "ambassador" and will help educate people to respect wildllife and make sure their actions do not result in creating more problem bears.

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