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Official Blog of the Great Bear II

First class wilderness adventures and holiday cruises on the coast of British Columbia.

Current | 2022 | 2021 | 2020 |2019 | 2018-2016 | 2015 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006-2004

Friday, January 27, 2023


Winter in the Great Bear Rainforest Winter in the Great Bear Rainforest

Photo Credits: Kriss Duncan

Grizzly Bear mothers choose dens higher up mountain slopes while Black Bear mothers choose dens in lower elevations. At birth, Grizzly Bear cubs weigh about 11 ounces to 1 pound 6 ounces, while Black Bear cubs weigh between 8 and 12 ounces.

When the cubs emerge from the den with their mothers, they are approximately 10 - 12 weeks old with Grizzly Bear cubs weighing approximately 10 - 20 pounds and Black Bear cubs weighing about 4 - 8 pounds.

Grizzly Bear cubs typically stay with their mothers until the spring (when they turn 3), while Black Bear cubs generally stay with their mothers until the spring (when they turn 1 or 2, depending on food availability).

Right now, in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest on the central coast of B.C., there is snow still on the ground in most areas where bears are denning.
A tender moment between mama and her cub Four months old & learning to eat sedge grass

When we begin our trips there in May, most bears are out of hibernation and have come to the river estuaries to feast on the protein rich sedge grass and early Salmon berries. The bear cubs are learning from their mothers by copying her every move: what and how to eat different foods, where to find fresh water and how to stay safe from predators.

Mother Grizzly and Cub Nothing is sweeter than watching tiny bear cubs sampling Sedge grass or Teredo (which are a tiny saltwater clam that burrows in old wood) or Skunk Cabbage roots, sweet Salmon berries and even Barnacles.

These lessons are not only crucial to the cubs' own survival, but important for female cubs to teach their cubs one day.

The trusting relationships we have built with Bears, over 25+ years in this part of the world, means some extraordinary shared moments with mother Bears and their cubs.

Their trust in us is humbling and reminds us of why it is SO important that our guests learn who these bears really are and not the scary monster stories told to so many people, by those that kill bears for cash, kicks and trophies.

While we understand of course that these beautiful animals are not "teddy bears", the way in which we conduct ourselves in their homelands makes ALL the difference.
They are supposed to stay hidden while Mama is away foraging, but... Learning what to eat at low tide by watching their mama
Learning to stand on her back legs
Bears are emotionally intelligent beings which is often demonstrated within these bear families. Watching bear cubs play with each other, snuggle up to their mothers when they are scared, the way the mother holds her cubs when she nurses, and the way she assures them, are only a few of the many behaviours that prove that bears are indeed sentient beings and very worthy of our respect, considerations, and most of all worthy of us speaking up for them when they misunderstood.

Our relationship with bears is not only crucial to their well-being and survival, but to our own. As the world seems to spin out of control, nature is all important. We need to remember that we are not separate nor superior to nature, but a part of nature itself and in truly understanding this, we will lead healthier, more fulfilled lives.

While we watch tiny bear cubs swing in the low branches of bushes and trees, while they wrestle with each other, and while their mother holds them and hums to them while they nurse, we are grateful for and humbled by their trust in us and shown the truth of who bears really are.

Paying attention to mama when she senses danger We are also grateful for and humbled by all the First Nations People in whose territories we travel, who take stewardship of their lands and animals, so seriously.

In spring, we are traveling primarily in the territories of the Heiltsuk People of Bella Bella and the Kitasoo Xai'xais People of Klemtu, and sometimes a little into Gitga'at Territory, home to the People of Hartley Bay.

If you have a trip planned with us in Spring in the Great Bear Rainforest, we look forward to meeting you in person and sharing our favourite part of the world with you. Until then, we hope you are enjoying nature where you live and travel!

Grizzly Bear mum and cubs swimming at sunset to night beds in rainforest

Join us... and discover how "you're connected with everything."

Current | 2022 | 2021 | 2020 |2019 | 2018-2016 | 2015 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006-2004

First class BC wilderness cruises, coastal tours and charters on the West Coast of British Columbia aboard the 54 ft. Great Bear II, out of Vancouver, BC.
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