Review and images by Suspsy; edited by bmathison1972
In the lush coastal rainforests of British Columbia, Canada, lives the extremely rare Kermode, spirit, or ghost bear (Ursus americanus kermodei). It is a subspecies of the American black bear in which some individuals are born with creamy white fur due to a recessive gene. Only a few hundred such animals exist. They are not true albinos, however, as their eyes and skin are pigmented.
Safari Ltd’s 2017 Kermode bear is, not surprisingly, a repaint of their 2009 black bear. While its main colour is indeed white, most of its body has been airbrushed with a rich shade of raw sienna. The beady little eyes are medium brown, the nose and claws are pinkish-brown, the mouth is black, and the underside of the paws have airbrushed dark brown. Many real Kermode bears have much whiter fur than this, but I suspect that the darker colour scheme was used so that nobody would accidentally mistake this toy for a polar bear. The black paint on mine has been sloppily applied, making it look like there’s a thin mustache under the nose.
Our bear is lumbering along on all fours with its left front paw in mid-step, its right hind paw extended behind its body, and its big head looking to the left. This gives it a length of about 11 cm and a height of 6 cm. Aside from its colouration, a Kermode bear is no different in manner from a regular black bear, so this one is probably searching for food. Its diet consists mainly of plants and berries in the spring and summer, but come fall, it feeds entirely on migrating salmon in order to fatten up for winter. The Kermode’s lighter colour even gives it a 35% higher success rate over black bears, as salmon are less likely to catch sight of it from underwater.
The top of this toy’s head and back are relatively smooth and the ears are very large and rounded, all telltale characteristics of a Kermode or black bear. The fur has a thick, shaggy appearance to it and the massive torso and heavy limbs make this bear look strong and powerful. There is one sculpting flaw, however: a rather prominent seam line running across the left side of the cranium, almost like a scar.
Aside from that, this Kermode bear is a very beautifully crafted figure, one that should look great in anybody’s ursid collection. It can be found in most shops that stock Safari Ltd. products as well as online.