Knight Inlet Lodge guide Lori Kublik has kindly supplied us with the following report.
Yesterday and today a LOT of salmon moved up into the spawning channel during the hot, sunny afternoon when the bears must have been hiding in the shade. Yesterday late morning me and my group of guests were VERY lucky to see adult grizzly bears playing together. It started with a male and female, and they wrestled in the water, play biting each other. Then they separated as they noticed another male arrive. The two males then started playing together, while the female swam off to go check out the salmon in the deep pool.
Those two males played, bit, hugged, wrestled and swatted for over half an hour! It was totally wild. One of the most amazing wildlife experiences I will ever have, I'm sure. We were all flabbergasted. Not sure if all 3 of these playful bears are siblings, or if they're just happy to have so much salmon around that they're willing to play with anyone?? This morning we saw the same male and female playing in the spawning channel on the drive back out of the channel, and the other day Mel saw this female nuzzle the nose of another female who had a salmon in her mouth, in a friendly way, so she thought they were siblings. Who knows. Pretty cool to see adult grizzly bears playing.
Peanut was hanging out at the weir while the bigger bears were playing, and he was so focused on watching the bears downstream, and hoping for salmon, that he didn't notice a female approaching. She stealthily moved under our stand, down the bank, into the water, right up to Peanut. She bit him on the side before he knew she was there, jumping in shock and running out of the water and out of sight. Hilarious! We figured he must have been pretty embarrassed.
The bear that bit him didn't stick around too long, so Peanut returned to his favourite spot just below the weir. All the while the big bears are still playing. The female who had played with one of the males got bored of swimming in the deep pool of salmon, and she approached Peanut at a slow walk. Peanut ran out of the channel up onto the road when she got close, and she ran up after him. He ran for about 15m then slowed, thinking she wouldn't follow. She kept running, and he glanced back and realized it and really turned on the speed. The last we saw of them they were tearing down the road out of sight. Hee hee.
Peanut survived alright, because we saw him later that afternoon, no new scars. In fact, it looked like the same female that chased him in the morning was sharing one side of the weir with him for fishing, so maybe they reached a truce. VERY interesting bear dynamics this year.
On a Glendale Cove estuary tour this afternoon we also saw Bella and her cubs near the water's edge, and the cubs were playing quite a bit. Very cute.
grizzly fishing for salmon