Grizzly bear viewing on the rivers of BC’s Knight Inlet always presents opportunities for interesting photos. It is rare to see a grizzly standing with a salmon. Normally once the bear has the salmon it starts to eat immediately so it can get back to fishing for the next salmon. This bear seems in good shape but it still has long legs. The long legs means that it does not have the barrel of a fat belly that bears get when they are closer to hibernation that make their legs appear to be short and stumpy. Being that this photo was taken at the end of August with two more months to fatten it is more likely that this bear’s stomach is full for the day. Being that it has been eating sedge grass for most of the summer its stomach has not stretched to accommodate the larger meals.
The last 3 years we have been starting to view sea otters in our area more regularly. They are still often a distance away, but the sightings are increasing with some “rafts” of them developing in areas near the western portion of our whale watching trips. These animals were hunted heavily for their fur and were completely wiped out of British Columbia waters. Re-introduction occurred from Alaskan otters in the 1960’s. They have long been protected and their numbers have been steadily increasing along the exposed BC coast and are now moving back into inside waters. They are unique in that they don’t have the insulating blubber that other marine mammals use to keep warm. As a result they have dense (over 1 million hairs per square inch) fur and feed heavily. They are important in balancing the eco-system. They eat a lot of sea urchins, which eat a lot of kelp. Kelp is extremely important as it provides cover for juvenile fish and is where the herring spawn in the early spring. With the increase in these otters we are seeing a greater abundance and healthier kelp forests.Visit our Blog