The viewing stands used by Grizzly Bear Lodge are located overlooking the small area the salmon rest in before moving over the weir into the man-made spawning channel. This also makes for an ideal area for grizzly bears to catch the pink salmon that drift down river either having died from exhaustion prior to spawning or having escaped from other grizzlies feeding up stream. This photo shows a grizzly enjoying its catch as well as three other salmon behind the bear. This bear is less that 15 meters (45 feet) from the stand and the photo shows that this is a female pink salmon (males have a large hump on their back and thus the name “humppy”) and the preferred catch for the bears because of the fat rich egg row is contains.
Grizzly Bear Lodge is on Minstrel Island BC and on the southern edge of the Broughton Archipelago. This is an area of many islands varying in size from small (100 square meters / yards) to large (100 square km /miles) and therefore many passages that need to be swum when black bears want to move from island to island. The current estimate of the black bear population in British Columbia is 120,000–160,000. This is about one quarter of all black bears in Canada. Its natural range includes Vancouver Island and most coastal islands to the north. This means that a swimming black bear is common rather than rare. This appears to be a healthy bear with a good layer of fat as shown by how high it’s body is out of the water. In the early spring often all that is visible is their head.
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