Famed white grizzly bear emerges with new cubs – stopping to photograph her could land you with $25,000 fine

Brown bear (Ursus arctos) and two cubs side by side, spring
The bear's sister was run over and killed in 2022, and officials want to protect Nakoda from the same fate (Image credit: Johnny Johnson / Getty Images)

Canada's famous white grizzly bear has emerged in Yoho National Park after winter torper with two new cubs, and local officials have been quick to pass emergency laws protecting her from photographers and social media influencers.

On Thursday, Parks Canada announced a temporary no-stopping law along a 10 km stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway in the park, after the white bear, known as Nakoda, showed up in the area. In addition, the speed limit has been reduced to 70 km per hour along the stretch between  Yoho Valley Road and Sherbrooke Creek to help protect the seven-year-old bear and her cubs from an expected increase in traffic as hopeful wildlife enthusiasts try to get a photo. 

Already, photos of the rare bear have been circulating on social media, with an Instagram post, which you can see below, just yesterday showing her grazing with one of her cubs next to her near Cathedral Mountain Lodge.

According to reporting in Lakeland Today, Nakoda is the only young reproducing bear in the Lake Louise area and she typically comes to this stretch of the highway each spring to feed on the wildflowers. In 2022, her sister was hit and killed by a car on the highway, and wildlife officials want to protect Nakoda from the same fate.

Now, if you violate the no-stopping rule or speed restrictions, you could receive penalties ranging from a $115 ticket to a mandatory court appearance and maximum fine of $25,000, which Parks Canada hopes will have you thinking twice about endangering the rare bear, or other drivers.

White grizzly bears are extremely rare, and wildlife officials say that their unusual appearance is probably caused by a recessive gene. In 2022, Nakoda was captured and fitted with a GPS tracker to allow wildlife officials to track and protect her.

If you are traveling in the area, observe all local laws, understand bear safety and remember to give wildlife lots of room. Only stop when it is safe and legal to do so, and enjoy wildlife from afar with binoculars.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.