Keith "Bear Man" Scott - The Rainbow Bear

Friday, January 08 2010 @ 03:22 PM EST

Contributed by: davidh

My good friend Keith Scott, also known as the "Bear Man" because he has devoted his life to the better understanding of bears and the education of the public in the value of these great scavenger-predators, he has again hit the jackpot with his time in the field.

Keith has now photographed what must surely be the intergrade between the White-spirit Bear or Kermode Bear of the northern British Columbia coast and the more northern Glacial Blue Bear of Southeast Alaska. And he has captured about 4 minutes of this intriguing animal on video.  You get the worlds first look at it in video here and a few still shots taken from his digital video.  As expected, this Rainbow Bear was photographed near the BC -- AK border.   Keith spends his summers at the famous  Hyder Alaska Fish Creek spawning channel and the Salmon Glacier in adjacemt BC which, by my estimates,  is the best bear viewing spot in North America.  You can drive right to it through Stewart BC.

I took one look at these images and said Keith has found the  "Rainbow Bear"  --  it starts with the blue nose and goes through browns, creams and a bit of yellow to end up again with the blue rump.   These shots show the bear coming and going and in and out of sunlight to prove that the colors are not due to shadows.

This "Rainbow" intergrade  is very much like the intergrade of the thinhorn sheep that occupy the nearby mountains.  The white Dalls Sheep is of the northern and western ranges while the brown  Stone Sheep live in north eastern BC and the southern Yukon..  In the middle, in northwestern BC  is the "mousey grey"  Fannin Sheep  -- the intergrade between the two.  Will time reveal this "Rainbow Bear" as a reliably reproducing color phase between the white-cream Kermode Bear of British Columbia and the Glacier Blue Bear of Alaska to the north?  Time will tell.

Keith has had an incredible set of careers.  Out of high school he became  the only white man on the Harlem Aces  --- all 5 foot 11 inches of him.  Now he annually spends the winter lecturing in schools on conservation and bear wisdom and still challenges the entire school basketball teams on the court.  He has written 7 books on bears,  the last three of which publishes.  Another one for kids will be out next spring.

The "Scott Rainbow Bear"  is but his latest photographic triumph.  We invite others to post other White-spirit or Glacial bear photos or video -- and unusual color patterns illustrating the color versatility of black bears.  Yes, the White-spirit or Kermode, the Glacial and the cinnamon, brown and typical black phase  are all black bears.  The other upland bear of North America, the grizzly bear, when occurring along the coastal islands and rivers of southern and south-east Alaska is also called the Brown Bear in that area  -- just to confuse the issue.  The only other NA bear is the marine Polar Bear of the arctic waters.

Keith spends May through September  at the Fish Creek Alaska site, or just upstream at the Salmon Glacier, one of NA's most spectacular areas,  talking, autographing books and giving tours and then spends another 6 weeks every year passionately hiking alone following bears from the high arctic through the Rocky Mountain parks.  The intimate stories of his encounters fill his books.  He well earned the name Bear Man!


View the photo gallery here:


Discuss the Rainbow Bear here:


Tag: david hancock keith scott bear man bears rainbow kermode bear glacial blue bear cinnamon bear brown bear black bear polar bear grizzly bear salmon glacier fish creek alaska arctic rocky mountain parks

Hancock Wildlife Foundation