Official Blog of the Great Bear II
First class wilderness adventures and holiday cruises on the coast of British Columbia.
Sunday, January 12, 2020
ENSURING A FUTURE FOR A FAMILY OF BEARS IN THE GREAT BEAR RAINFOREST...A little less than 20 years ago, we met this MAMA BEAR for the first time, after she had been weaned from her own mother and was all on her own as a 4 year old. ALOT has changed in 20 years!
We dedicate this story to Mama Bear whom many of our guests have enjoyed and photographed, along with the beautiful, spirited cubs, all of which seem to have quite the sense of humour!
While we did see Mama with her first set of cubs, she had sadly lost both of them by that fall. It's a tough job being a mama grizzly, especially in her early days with so little experience.
The following year she came out of hibernation with two more beautiful cubs. It was definitely the beginning of a long relationship with Mama Bear and her subsequent litters of cubs.
The following series of photos are from our time with her and her second set of cubs, the first of her litters to survive...
Sadly, the smallest of these two cubs did not survive to that fall, but, the larger of the two (who we named Fuzzy), thrived, and with Mama and Fuzzy teaching us SO much about the true nature of Grizzly Bear mamas and their cubs!
The following series of photos are of Mama Bear and Fuzzy during the 3 years before he was weaned...
As it is not typical for a male cub (and Fuzzy was a male), to stay in their mother's home territory, Fuzzy moved to another inlet where we've been fortunate enough to see him continue to grow and where we've recently seen him "wooing" the ladies:
Back in Mama Bear's home territory, she had mated again after Fuzzy was weaned and the following spring, she came out of hibernation with 3 beautiful new cubs. Sadly, she lost 1 of the 3 cubs in their first year. The following series of photos are of Mama and these cubs, including the 2 that survived (that we call Girl Bear and Boy Bear. (Not very imaginative names, right?)
When Mama's Girl Bear and Boy Bear were weaned, they spent at least the first year together and we've seen them together, on and off over the years since..
It is possible that Girl Bear mated in the spring of 2019, so stay tuned for updates. Could be a sad time for Boy Bear as it's unlikely that she would allow him near her cubs.
Meanwhile, in 2018, Mama Bear had another set of 3 cubs. In true Mama Bear fashion, she presented her cubs to us one morning, the memory of which, still brings tears of gratitude to my eyes. Mama had literally been chased (by people from a anchored yacht), out of a safe haven that she likes to use for her new cubs, over a rock bluff, to a nearby tiny bay, where we found them feasting on berries in a bush at the edge of the rainforest. The cubs were climbing through the bush while Mama sat, human like, on a huge rock, very gently picking berries and eating them. (Her cubs still had a lot to learn in that respect.) As we slowly motored by, not wanting to disturb her and the cubs, she turned to look at us and then immediately got down off the rock, said something in mother bear language to the cubs.. before walking straight to the beach, closest to us. We do not take this kind of trust lightly, so we kept a close eye on Mama and the cubs for any sign of stress, which I'm happy to report, we never saw. The following are a series of photos from that morning as Mama taught her tiny cubs to forage for and eat barnacles..
After they'd learned from Mama how to eat barnacles, two of them began playing and fighting over a stick.. not unlike two human children fighting over a toy. Make sure you check out the facial expressions!
While Mama Bear... and all of her cubs.. have had infinite patience with humans that behave respectfully, she was tested that spring, by people on private yachts, trying to get too close to her and the cubs and by people who were allowing their dogs to run wild in areas of her territory where she typically likes to reside when she's had new cubs. Fortunately, she shares her territory with the Kitasoo Xai'xais People of Klemtu who in partnership with BC Parks, are developing a new management plan for this area. And the news gets even better...
In this very remote inlet where Mama Bear lives and has raised all of her cubs, there will be an outpost cabin built for the Kitasoo Xai'xais Coastal Guardian Watchmen to stay at and watch over bears like Mama Bear, Girl Bear, Boy Bear, and her latest 3 cubs and this spectacular, biodiverse inlet with its critical habitat for Grizzly Bears, spawning salmon, the red listed Marbled Murrelet and a host of other terrestrial and marine plants and animals.
We are inviting all of you who have traveled here with us, who have spent time with Mama Bear and her cubs, to help the Kitasoo Xai'xais People build this cabin to ensure the future of these bears and their critical habitat.
Join us... and discover how "you're connected with everything."
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