A piece of temperate rainforest in Canada – home to the rare, white “spirit bear” – will be formally added to the Commonwealth’s forest conservation efforts by members of the British royal family next week.
Prince William and his wife, Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, will arrive in Canada this weekend along with their children for a tour of British Columbia and the Yukon. On Monday the couple will travel to the Great Bear Rainforest, the world’s largest temperate rainforest, located on the coast of British Columbia. The rainforest will be committed to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, which is a network of forest conversation initiatives, involving all 53 countries of the Commonwealth.
The Great Bear Rainforest is home to Kermode bears, which are part of the black bear family. Some of the bears are completely white and often referred to as spirit bears, stemming from First Nations legend. The rare and beautiful bears draw many to the 32,000-square-kilometre forest in hopes of a glimpse of spirit bears and the many animals that live in the forest.
The Duke and Duchess will arrive in Bella Bella before transferring to a float plane, where they will have an aerial tour of a section of the rainforest, before being welcomed by the Heiltsuk First Nations community. They will then head to McLoughlin Bay where the rainforest will be officially committed to The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy during a ceremony. The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy was created in 2015 with a goal of conserving forests throughout the commonwealth for future generations.