Khutzeymateen 2017 – Year of the Cubs (and more)

I am just getting home from seven awesome days in the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary located on the coast of British Columbia. This pristine estuary is located on the northern coast of British Columbia, and is the only Grizzly Bear Sanctuary in Canada.  Visiting a location like this, really makes you appreciate all the hard work that went into setting this land aside as a sanctuary, because it is remote, pristine, and untouched.  Because the Grizzly Bears in this area cannot be hunted, most of them tend to not mind us photographing them from the zodiac (however there were certainly exceptions).

 

On Alert

This year, I was hopeful that we would get to see some Grizzly Bear Cubs given the amount of mating we watched in 2015.  Mother Grizzly Bears tend to not bring their cubs into the estuary until they are yearlings, because there can be some big males that make their way into the estuary, and therefore a big risk to the new (and very tiny) cubs of the year.  Well, I was not disappointed, and my expectations were exceeded.  We had the opportunity to see four different moms with cubs (while one we only saw briefly). In addition to just seeing them, we got to watch, and photograph, some really neat interactions between the moms and cubs, with one cub trying to learn how to dig clams while watching his mom, and seeing the cubs snuggle up with their mom to sleep, and even had the opportunity to have one of the mothers nurse her cubs right in front of us.

 

We also got really lucky with both the number of Grizzly Bears that we saw, and also lucky with all the different aspects of the bears lives that we got to photograph.  We got them eating grass, courting and mating, interacting with cubs, swimming, digging clams, napping, jumping, and so much more.  It was like we had the opportunity to see everything that the bears do all compressed into seven days.

 

The “and more” in the title is because I expected to see Grizzly Bears, considering it is a “Grizzly Bear Sanctuary”, but I didn’t expect to see some of the other species that we saw.  Most notable of course was the wolves that we saw on both the 4 day trip and the 3 day trip, and was the longest I have ever got to spend with a wolf in the Khutzeymateen (way longer than the few seconds I saw one for last year). In addition to the wolves, over the seven days I also saw a few Black Bears, Mink, and even a Porcupine. And among some of the birds and ducks we got to see were Harlequin Ducks, Bald Eagles, and more (although the birds, especially the small ones, can be hard to photograph).

 

I walk away from the seven days with in a state of awe over how lucky we were to get some of the things that we did, and with thousands of photos to go through and edit and get to re-live the experiences through the photos.  I’m looking forward to getting the chance to visit again in the future.  I was also very lucky with the two groups of people that I got to spend the seven days with.

 

To stay up-to-date with my latest images, visit my Recent Photos gallery, and to see the images that I have taken in my previous trips to the Khutzeymateen, visit my Khutzeymateen Gallery.

 

Now I have a couple months until I spend more time with Grizzly Bears on the Fishing Grizzlies of the Taku that I will visit in August.

 

Feel free to contact me, contact@wildelements.ca with any questions about this trip.

I am just getting home from seven awesome days in the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary located on the coast of British Columbia. This pristine estuary is located on the northern coast of British Columbia, and is the only Grizzly Bear Sanctuary in Canada.  Visiting a location like this, really makes you appreciate all the hard work that went into setting this land aside as a sanctuary, because it is remote, pristine, and untouched.  Because the Grizzly Bears in this area cannot be hunted, most of them tend to not mind us photographing them from the zodiac (however there were certainly exceptions).

 

On Alert

This year, I was hopeful that we would get to see some Grizzly Bear Cubs given the amount of mating we watched in 2015.  Mother Grizzly Bears tend to not bring their cubs into the estuary until they are yearlings, because there can be some big males that make their way into the estuary, and therefore a big risk to the new (and very tiny) cubs of the year.  Well, I was not disappointed, and my expectations were exceeded.  We had the opportunity to see four different moms with cubs (while one we only saw briefly). In addition to just seeing them, we got to watch, and photograph, some really neat interactions between the moms and cubs, with one cub trying to learn how to dig clams while watching his mom, and seeing the cubs snuggle up with their mom to sleep, and even had the opportunity to have one of the mothers nurse her cubs right in front of us.

 

We also got really lucky with both the number of Grizzly Bears that we saw, and also lucky with all the different aspects of the bears lives that we got to photograph.  We got them eating grass, courting and mating, interacting with cubs, swimming, digging clams, napping, jumping, and so much more.  It was like we had the opportunity to see everything that the bears do all compressed into seven days.

 

The “and more” in the title is because I expected to see Grizzly Bears, considering it is a “Grizzly Bear Sanctuary”, but I didn’t expect to see some of the other species that we saw.  Most notable of course was the wolves that we saw on both the 4 day trip and the 3 day trip, and was the longest I have ever got to spend with a wolf in the Khutzeymateen (way longer than the few seconds I saw one for last year). In addition to the wolves, over the seven days I also saw a few Black Bears, Mink, and even a Porcupine. And among some of the birds and ducks we got to see were Harlequin Ducks, Bald Eagles, and more (although the birds, especially the small ones, can be hard to photograph).

 

I walk away from the seven days with in a state of awe over how lucky we were to get some of the things that we did, and with thousands of photos to go through and edit and get to re-live the experiences through the photos.  I’m looking forward to getting the chance to visit again in the future.  I was also very lucky with the two groups of people that I got to spend the seven days with.

 

To stay up-to-date with my latest images, visit my Recent Photos gallery, and to see the images that I have taken in my previous trips to the Khutzeymateen, visit my Khutzeymateen Gallery.

 

Now I have a couple months until I spend more time with Grizzly Bears on the Fishing Grizzlies of the Taku that I will visit in August.

 

Feel free to contact me, contact@wildelements.ca with any questions about this trip.