Any bear with three cubs has a full time job to find enough to eat to produce the milk to keep a family fed. This photo was taken by Glen one of the camp guides on a morning tour to view grizzly bears. The rock ledge on the way up Knight Inlet is cover with barnacles and seaweed. The barnacles are food for the bear and by looking as the white area (that is where the barnacles have been scrapped away and eaten) it is easy to see that this bear has been busy. The cubs being to young to scrap the barnacles wait for mum to provide the milk.
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.