Note that there are three cubs: to the left of the rock, on the rock and to the right (partially hidden by the rock). We watched this family for about an hour and I was not able to get a clear photo of the family together. My guest got good photos but then they were not maneuvering the boat and taking pictures. That’s my excuse. Grizzly cubs, twins and triplets, are not uncommon in the area of Knight Inlet. It is a sign that the females are healthy and able to handle multiple births. The cubs are born in the winter den and if the female is not in good health (enough fat to feed her and her expected babies) the eggs are absorbed and no cubs are produced. Many of these multiple births survive their first year as they are seen the following year still with their mothers.
In our area we have two types of Orca. We have the residents and the Biggs (aka transient). Although quite similar in size and appearance their behaviour is quite different. The resident Orca show up in the summer and usually remain in the area until the fall. The Residents feed exclusively on fish, and enter the area to feed on salmon. Their primary food source is the chinook salmon, which is the largest of the 5 species. To a lesser extend they also feed on other types of salmon, lingcod, squid and various other species of fish. They will never feed on marine mammals and despite their name tend to leave the area during the winter months. They are very social and often vocalise. On the other hand the Biggs can be spotted year-round. They feed on marine mammals with harbour seals (like the ones in the picture) being their main food source, although propose, dolphins, sea lions and otters are also commonly on the menu. These animals are much “stealthier”, traveling quickly and vocalising much less. This is because they are on the hunt for mammals which can detect their calls. The Biggs below circled this particular rock several times, but in this case were unsuccessful in catching a seal off guard.
The Biggs Orca were named after Dr. Micheal Bigg who pioneered Orca research in the area. He realised that individual whales can be identified by their dorsal fin and saddle patch. This led to the creation of a thorough catalogue of animals and their family structures, which are organised by clans, pods and matrilines.