A classic work of nature and wildlife, Spirit Bear is the captivating story of wilderness guide and naturalist Charles Russell’s quest to understand the rare spirit bear of British Columbia’s Princess Royal Island — now updated and reissued with a new design and an afterword by the author.
From early experiences observing black bears in the Rocky Mountains with his father, the well-known writer and broadcaster Andy Russell, to nerve-racking encounters with grizzlies in British Columbia’s Khutzeymateen Valley, Charles Russell has spent a lifetime studying bears in their natural habitat. In 1991, Russell visited Princess Royal Island, an uninhabited island off the coast of British Columbia. There, amidst the rivers and trees of the western rainforest, he encountered the elusive spirit bear.
Known to scientists as the Kermode bear and to the public as the white, ghost, or spirit bear, these extraordinary animals have never been exposed to civilization. In Spirit Bear, Russell recounts his experiences on Princess Royal Island — trekking over rocks and through streams; waiting hours for the evasive ghost bear to appear; and finally coming face-to-face with a spirit bear only inches from his nose.
Illustrated with more than 100 stunning colour photographs, Spirit Bear provides beautiful and astonishing insight into the habits and nature of the Kermode bear, and is part of an ongoing effort by conservationists to save Princess Royal Island as a sanctuary for these remarkable animals.
About the author
CHARLES RUSSELL was born and raised in southwest Alberta near what is now Waterton Lakes National Park, in bear country. He is an accomplished Canadian wilderness guide, naturalist, photographer, rancher, and pilot. Russell has authored several other books on bears, including Grizzly Heart: Living Without Fear Among the Brown Bears of Kamchatka, Grizzly Seasons, and Learning to Be Wild: Raising Orphan Grizzlies. His photographs have appeared in magazines such as Canadian Geographic, Nature Canada, and Outdoor Life. He lives in Alberta.
Excerpt: Spirit Bear: Encounters with the White Bear of the Western Rainforest (by (author) Charles Russell)
I could scarcely believe what I was experiencing. Here was a wild bear, of fearsome lore, examining me and my trappings as though I were a novelty, a cousin from the big city come to visit — an object of curiosity, but definitely not something to fear, or to eat for that matter.