Photographers were able to capture a one-in-a-million ‘spirit bear’ just moments before it was sadly killed.
The unique black bear with white fur was spotted in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula before it was killed by wolves.
Outdoor community group, Yooper Outdoors #906, posted three images of the bear on Facebook and captioned the post: “Happy Bear Eve!!
“There’s been a white black bear on camera in the Yoop! Extremely rare, but ya never know what may coming walking into your bait!”
The group later informed reporters that the one-in-a-million bear was found dead shortly after the sighting.
The spirit bear was reportedly only two years old when it died.
Yooper Outdoors #906 told the publication: “Our wolf population has devastated our big game populations in the U.P.”
Commenting on the rarity of the bear, DNR large carnivore specialist Cody Norton, said: “I thought it was just too cool.
“It’s just exciting seeing an animal pop up like this here instead of somewhere else.
“We’ve had some cinnamon color phases show up, some blonde and chocolate on some trail cameras we use for surveys, which is also really cool to see.
“But those are more common in bear populations. White is its own thing.”
Austin Ayres, Wildlife technician at Michigan’s Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Natural Resources Department, told reporters: “It is a sign of great change.
“Some stories say the bear only comes when it is time for Anishinaabe to embrace their role and step away from their distractions.”
He added: “It is a reminder that within nature, anything and everything is possible, and the people should not go seeking anything outside of nature but understand all we need is within.”
According to bear.org: “Spirit bears are rare black bears with white or creamy fur, brown eyes, dark nose pads, and nearly white claws. They are not polar bears or albinos. Maybe 100 exist.
“Most Spirit Bears live on Princess Royal and Gribbell Islands along the rainforest coast of British Columbia. They are considered a subspecies of black bears called Kermode bears (Ursus americanus kermodeii).
“About 20 percent of the bears on those islands are white; the rest are black. On the mainland, the percentage of white bears drops off drastically with distance from those islands.”