This Rare, White Bear May Be the Key to Saving a Canadian Rainforest

The white Kermode bear of British Columbia is galvanizing First Nations people fighting to protect their homeland

By Alex Shoumatoff; Photographs by Melissa Groo

Very quietly we paddle to shore in a raft from the research vessel, which has stopped at the mouth of a small river cascading into the Pacific, one of more than a hundred salmon-bearing rivers in the 1,500-square-mile territory of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais people. We’re halfway up the coast of British Columbia, in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, in one of the largest unspoiled temperate rainforests on earth. We climb out and sit on boulders in the intertidal zone, in front of a meadow. Behind it is primeval forest, a solid wall of trees—western red cedar, Sitka spruce, alder, hemlock, Douglas fir

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