Canada is famed for its wildlife encounters and, in a country so vast, there are endless opportunities to spot a variety of animals. However, bears have become the symbolic animal for Canada. On the west coast, the Great Bear Rainforest covers a huge area of temperate rainforest between Vancouver Island and south-east Alaska. The forest is home to fearsome grizzly bears and the lesser-known Kermode bear or Spirit Bear, a subspecies of black bear whose white or cream-coloured coats are due to a recessive gene. Grizzly bears can be found throughout the western and northern provinces, while black bears are more widespread and are found throughout Canada, although Vancouver Island and Whistler are some of the best places to spot them. Lodges that specialise in bear watching often have resident naturalist experts who lead trips to view the bears and know the animals and their habitat well.