The Great Bear Rainforest

Tucked away on Canada’s remote Pacific Coast is the Great Bear Rainforest, home to an array of wildlife including the white “Spirit Bear,” the rarest bear on Earth. It is the larget temperate coastal rainforest in the world and has remained relatively unchanged for more than 10,000 years under the careful care of the indigenous First Nations people. It is now the subject of a new documentary, The Great Bear Rainforest, showing in 3D at IMAX theaters across the country.

Director Ian McAllister - who has lived and worked in the area for 30 years - and his crew spent three years filming throughout the remote reaches of the forest, and captured the ocean world, the salmon river valleys, and the ice-capped peaks of the Coast Mountains. Their unprecedented footage of the Spirit Bear, grizzly and black bears, sea otters and humpback whales is breath-taking.

The Great Bear Rainforest is one of the last truly wild places left on Earth, and has immense value both ecologically and culturally. Many people don’t know about this ancient rainforest and the indigenous people who have helped protect it for thousands of years.
— Ian McAllister, Director
A Spirit Bear

A Spirit Bear

The filmmakers shot four terabytes of film over three years in order to capture the dramatic landscape that ultimately fills 40 minutes of compelling story. The Black bears in this region are genetically different from those found in other parts of the country; with a genetic mutation occuring in some that has caused the fur to turn white. The light color camoflauges the bear while hunting for salmon - the predator virtually disappears against the cloudy sky, resulting in a much geater catch :)

This region has had the longstanding benefit or remaining relatively untouched for thousands of years, but global warming and logging has started to take it’s toll. Another problem for Grizzly bears in particular, is the sport of trophy hunting. With the help of First Nations, however, a ban on such hunting has been put in place, with the support of the local government.

The Great Bear Rainforest is narrated by actor Ryan Reynolds with a score by Academy Award winning composer Hans Zimmer. Director Ian McAllister is a co-founder and Executive Director of the wildlife conservation organization Pacific Wild. He is an award-winning photographer, filmmaker and author of nine books. He is also a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and the Royal Geographical Society.

You can learn more about the film - and watch the trailer - at Great Bear Rainforest Film. Prints of the images shared below can also be purchased at Pacific Wild. All photos are courtesy of Ian McAllister.

Special thanks to AutoNation IMAX Theater at the Museum of Discovery & Science.

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