This endorsement from the royal family will help protect the rare Spirit Bear, a cream-colored subspecies of black bear

By Kelli Bender
Updated September 19, 2016 01:56 PM
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Prince William and Princess Kate have a full schedule for their upcoming trip to Canada alongside Prince George and Princess Charlotte, but managed to make time for a special animal known as the Spirit Bear.

Officially known as the Kermode bear, this stunning creature is a rare subspecies of American black bear. One tenth of this animal’s population is born with a unique cream-colored coat. These bears are only found in the central and north coast of British Columbia, Canada, and they live in an area now known as the Great Bear Rainforest.

Will and Kate plan to officially endorse this area for protection under the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. This is in an important next step for the conservation of the Great Bear Rainforest and its wildlife.

“The Great Bear Rainforest is a global treasure,” Premier Christy Clark told the Vancouver Observer, “and all British Columbians have a stake in protecting it. The international recognition conferred by The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy is something all British Columbians can be proud of.”

According to CTV News, the land recently received another positive boost of support when 185 hectares of privately-owned pristine waterfront in the area was donated to the Nature Conservancy of Canada to help protect the beauty of the forest and its animals. This is a huge help to the Canadian government, which is working to bolster the patchwork pieces of protected land throughout the Great Bear Rainforest. The area, which is about the size of Ireland and accounts for a quarter of the world’s coastal temperate rainforest, is still dotted with privately-owned tracts.

http://www.nickgarbutt.com / Barcroft Media / Getty
www.nickgarbutt.com / Barcroft Media / Getty

A third of the land is fully protected under national park and conservation legislation. About 15 percent of the area is available for use by the logging industry under strict regulation.

This recognition from England’s royal family will help strengthen the Great Bear Rainforest’s land use order, which, through recent expansion, is working to apply an ecosystem-based management system to the land so 85% of the area is protected.

“We appreciate the recognition of The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, said Dallas Smith, president, Nanwakolas Council. “We are pleased that our years of hard work and leadership are being showcased as a positive example of how to do things right for the Great Bear Rainforest ecosystem and the peoples that are a part of it.”

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The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy was started in 2015 with the goal of uniting the Commonwealth in the fight for conserving the world’s forests for future generations. The initiative works to raise awareness in its citizens about the importance of protecting forests the world over, and also encourages Commonwealth nations to work together and exchange information about nature conservation.

The royal family’s eight-day tour of Canada kicks off September 24 in Victoria.