Yes there are four first year cubs and this is one of two sets we have seen in our viewing area this year. Twins and triplets are common but four is still rare. After mating, the female may be pregnant, but that does not mean she will give birth to cubs. Bears have developed a process called delayed implantation. The fertilized egg develops into a small embryo called a blastocyst. This is where the interesting stuff begins. After this brief period of development, of the fertilized egg suddenly stops growing and simply floats freely in the uterus for several months. If a sow is in peak condition when she heads into her winter den, the embryo implants in the uterus and begin to develop. She’ll wake up during January or February to give birth. Healthy bears tend to have multiple births so this indicated we have a very healthy population of grizzlies.
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