Spectacular Photos Reveal Newly Protected Great Bear Rainforest

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Long heralded as the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest, the Great Bear forest in western is home to a stunning array of wildlife, from birds to wolves to the iconic white Kermode, or spirit, bears.

Conservationists and First Nations peoples have battled logging interests in the unique landscape for decades, but now a deal has been struck to preserve most of the forest.

British Columbia introduced legislation this week that will protect 85 percent of the 6.4 million-hectare rainforest from logging. Province Premier Christy Clark called the protection a gift from British Columbia “to the entire world” at a ceremony this week.

Rain – Wolves in the forest thrive on a diverse selection of food, including whatever aquatic creatures they can catch in the intertidal zone. Photograph by Paul Nicklen, National Geographic

In a statement, Sierra Club spokesman Jens Wieting called the new law a success.

“We are hopeful we have provided a beacon of light for how to move ahead in the 21st century,” he said.

Gorgeous Scenery – The Great Bear rainforest hugs snow-capped peaks in British Columbia. This is a narrow arm of Cascade Inlet. Photograph by Paul Nicklen, National Geographic
Spirit Bear – Widely called spirit bears, a white Kermode bear enjoys a meal of fish in the rainforest. Neither an albino nor a , the animal is a localized variant of the . Photograph by Paul Nicklen, National Geographic
Salmon! Salmon bring vital pulses of nutrients into the forest when they make their annual runs from the sea. Photograph by Paul Nicklen, National Geographic
Proud Bird – The rainforest provides excellent habitat for eagles, as well as owls. Photograph by Paul Nicklen, National Geographic
Orcas stalk the wild waters off the forest. Photograph by Paul Nicklen, National Geographic

This article was first published by National Geographic on 03 Mar 2016.


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