BITS ‘N’ PIECES
Kermode bears – the spirit bears
Recent research undertaken by First Nations’ scientists reveals that Kermode bears (or spirit bears) populate a more extensive geographical region than previously thought. The bears affected by this rare genetic anomaly (analogous to red hair in humans) are culturally significant to British Columbia’s coastal Indigenous peoples, who safeguarded them during the fur trade of the 1800s by keeping their existence secret. With current regulatory protections now exposed as deficient, this centuries-old effort to defend spirit bears must begin again.
Amazonian manatee – the fish cow
The Amazonian manatee is the largest mammal in the Amazon rainforest. Manatees are aquatic mammals who spend up to 8 hours a day grazing. Because of how they move in the water, it’s clear why manatee means “fish cow“ in Portuguese. While they are graceful swimmers, they are large and slow moving, found in coastal waters and rivers where the greatest risk to their populations are collisions with boats.
Cave life in Spain
Caves cover the hills of Guadix, a region in southern Spain containing around 2,000 caves that have been used as homes for generations, spread over an area of 200 hectares (500 acres). Most are occupied, with about 4,500 citizens. The caves have been used for thousands of years. The security and isolation that prehistoric populations found in these primitive natural shelters would later be sought by modern cultures, like some in southern Spain.