This incredibly rare white grizzly has emerged in Banff. Why experts hope you never see it

Read the full story in the Calgary Star.

With the click of a phone camera, the bear’s life changed, probably forever.

Most of the details about the bear are murky: It’s about three years old, and it left its mother last spring. No one knows whether it’s male or female.

But the one thing we know for sure stands out: The fact that this grizzly bear’s fur is white.

White grizzlies are almost unheard of. Polar bears roam the Arctic, and the West Coast has Kermode, or spirit, bears — though they’re a variant of black bear, and their numbers are estimated to be in the low hundreds. But in the Rockies, grizzlies are sometimes darker, sometimes lighter, but always brown or black.

Buzz about the unusual animal has been building ever since late April, when it was spotted in Banff National Park as a family drove by. The photos made the local news. In the weeks since, the bear has made international headlines and locals have given it a name. Park officials say they’ve already encountered tourists pulling over on the side of the Trans-Canada Highway, hoping for a glimpse…

The message from park officials and bear researchers alike is crystal clear: Do not seek out the bear, and if, by chance, you happen to see it, give it space. Worries remain about getting that rule to stick in Banff, where tourists can crowd animals and dozens of stopped cars frequently line roadways when a bear is visible.

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