What Colour is a Black Bear?

bear morph

Back in 2000 Sy Montgomery, with input and help from evolutionary biologist Dr. Gary Galbreath, started working on and subsequently released the book "Search for the Golden Moon Bear:

Science and Adventure in Pursuit of a New Species" a tale of an adventurous search for a mythical new bear species in Asia.

Galbreath, in his own right, had noted the possible existance of a morph and later by DNA analysis that the mythical bears were in fact colour morphs of the Asiatic Black Bear. He concluded "The principal color phase is black......... Rare brown phases are also known, and recently a blond (and mixed blond and black) color phase was discovered in Cambodia, Thailand, and Lao PDR" (Galbreath et al. 2000). Sadly, all of the bears Montgomery and Galbreath found and sampled were already captive either in sanctuaries, caged in zoos, or privately "owned". Sy Montgomery never locates one in the wild during the book research. Understandable really.

Asiatic Black Bear - Colour Morph from Wildlife Thailand on Vimeo.


Rare footage of a colour morph of an asiatic black bear.


I enjoyed the book greatly, although its now marketed as a K12 book it is a great read and in no way a children's book. Its an example of how conservation awareness can be successfuly promoted through media. And lets hope, her work has the power to inspire some K12s who will make a difference. As we pass the batons of hope and action to future generations.

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