Knight Inlet’s Glendale River estuary is our normal viewing area for grizzly bears in the spring. The salmon have not arrived so one of the main source of food in the protein rich sedge grass which grows at the river mouth. Mother grizzly bears and cubs, in this case by their size they are last years cubs, come to the area for the sedge grass. At lower tides when the beach is exposed they turn over rocks for the high protein food of crabs, clams, barnacles, amphipods and other tiny invertebrates. These grizzlies remain in the area until the salmon arrive in August and then move up the river and we follow them to the viewing stands on the river.
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