Grizzly Bears

For the second half of the week we moved into an area that is known to have grizzly bears feed on the spawning salmon as they swim up the creek. The reason one area is black bear vs grizzly is determined by the grizzly bears. These bears are larger and more “energetic’ than the black bears and have been known to feed on black bears when times are tuff.

This turns out to be a magical place when we arrive. A small inlet surrounded by steep mountains and a creek flowing out. We are also incredibly lucky to encounter in total about 13 grizzly bears including a Mum with a cub from this spring. The way we view the bears is by zodiac boat. We are able to come in within 3 metres of the bears as they gorge themselves on salmon, which by now has spawned and is lying dead on the bottom of the creek. No fishing effort required just scoop them off the bottom of the creek. We get to take part in a range of bear behaviour as the grizzly bears allow us to take part in their life. There is the favourite rubbing tree, the small pool where the salmon just cover the bottom and it is very peaceful to eat. The Mum is the most amazing bear, she is a dark cinnamon colour with a blond mane and big beautiful brown eyes. A mother with cub is supposed to be the most aggressive encounter you can have with a grizzly and yet this bear allows us to follow her for hours.

One morning we witness what happens when a wolf starts howling from the cliff above, both Mum and cub snap to attention. The baby bolts to the protection of Mum and she is all ears and nose checking the direction of the potential threat. Shortly after we see her climb up the steep cliff with her back firmly against the cliff and the cub right next to her. This way she can protect herself and the cub from an attack. All ends well and in the afternoon we see them again as they swim across the estuary the cub trying to get a free ride on Mum’s back and Mum promptly shaking him off.

This has been an absolute highlight of the trip, almost mystical to be taken into the world of these majestic creatures.

Posted on 18 October 2009, in Travel, Wildlife and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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