A grizzly pauses while fishing just below the viewing platform. It could be for a number of reasons but in the case of this grizzly it was likely to check on the location of her cubs. She in the mother of triplets and has spent most of the summer in our viewing area which is the Glendale River basin of Knights Inlet. The triplets stay pretty close to each other and are always within mother’s call range. This call is a grunt or growl that is used as a means of communicating with her young and they are quick to respond.
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.