This photo taken in late September shows a seven month old grizzly cub waiting for mother to provide lunch. It would be lunch as our time on the viewing stand on the Glendale River is between ten and noon. Mother cannot be to far away because at this age the cubs do not leave their mother side for very long. Mother will be close by fishing for the pink salmon that have come into the river to spawn. There are several rocks in this part of the river that are favourite perches for the hungry cubs.
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.