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Rare ‘spirit bear’ observed in Upper Peninsula location

The natural resources community and a great many others have been abuzz in recent days about a unique animal sighting.

An ultra-rare white black bear, reported to be a male weighing about 100 pounds, has been spotted in the Upper Peninsula, although it’s unclear approximately where.

According to reporting by The Detroit Free Press and a host of others, the animal — referred to as a “spirit bear” because of its unusual color — is the first seen in Michigan’s history.

The animals are typically observed in the far western states or western Canada, specifically in British Columbia, the Free Press reported

The Free Press story quoted Cody Norton, a wildlife biologist and large carnivore expert for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, who works in the U.P.

“In the whole eastern U.S. and eastern Canada, the black color phase is definitely the most dominant, the most common that shows up in these populations where it’s mostly all forested habitat,” Norton told the newspaper.

The Free Press story noted the trail cam photo was captured by a U.P. resident who would like to remain anonymous.

We don’t blame them.

The individual told MLive they were stunned at what they saw on camera and actually deleted images of it because they thought it was just their camera flash brightening up the fur of a common black bear in the dark photo, the Free Press stated.

This is a compelling development, especially for readers interested in the outdoors and/or naturalism.

Whether the bear shows up elsewhere in the U.P. remains to be seen. But the fact that it has been observed at least once is thought-provoking.

— The Mining Journal, Marquette

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