Monday, October 6, 2014

Grizzlies Oct. 2,3,4 2014

In 2013, acting on a tip from some internet contacts, Dian and I headed into the interior to find some Grizzlies.  We saw 3 but one in particular caught our attention.  We learned she was a 13-14 year old sow who had just gotten rid of 2 cubs that she had been nurturing for 2 years.  She was alone, scavenging a river bank for Kokanee-a land-locked salmon. I got some good pictures of her but wanted to go back this year to see if she gave birth over the winter.  We were not disappointed.  The following are some of the 300+ pictures I took.  There was an old apple tree in the area and she used to take advantage of the crop.  However some do-gooders decided to chop the tree down because it was attracting bears.  Well the tree is gone but the bears remained. This tree gave the bear her name of "Apple".  We know it is the same bear because of the scar on her nose.  The location will remain undisclosed for obvious reasons.  There is an update to this blog at end.  Please read.

Grizzly Country

We first saw Apple and her cubs when we were standing on a bridge and she suddenly appeared at the far end..  She waited patiently until we frantically scrambled to the other side and then she led her cubs across.

Her objective was this old tree which may have been Hawthorn.  By this time we were back on the bridge and watched her climb up.  I would bet that she has been up this tree many times before.

We were astonished how agile she was to climb the tree and manoeuvre her way around it.  The cubs were picking up what she shook off the tree.

Here she is eating some of the berries.

One of the cubs waiting for a berry.

I have no idea why the branches did not break.  We were afraid she would drop on one of the cubs.

She would shake by bouncing up and down and pulling with her teeth.
"Careful mom." 
One of cubs decided to climb up too and started shaking the branch like mom.

There are people that pay 1000's of dollars to kill these animals.  What's worse is, we have a government that allows them.

This one was entertaining as she watched a leaf slowly float to the ground.

Tired of the tree they decided to move on to another location.

They had to cross a river.

The river was active with spawning Kokanee.  After spawning the fish die and Apple was waiting for the bonanza that was to come.  She couldn't catch the live fish but knew from past experience that in a few days the river banks would be full of dead, spawned out fish.

She appears to be chatting over the fence to a neighbour but is actually looking for berries.

Grabbing a grass snack as she approaches.

The cubs appeared to be more alert than their mother.  Especially this one whom we think may have been a male.  He appeared to be slightly larger and was a little more independent than the other who stayed closer to "her" mother.

Kokanee River 
Food is found in many places.  Here you can see the scar on her nose.

Wait for me mom.

We found her again on our way home.  She was resting. Here you can see the difference in appearance between the cubs.

This was the way we left them.  

This is another bear we found.  I didn't like the demeanor of this character.   
Apple's home.

After spending a few hours with Apple and her family we became quite attached to her.  She appeared to be quite docile and would approach within mere meters.  We had to keep reminding ourselves she was a wild animal equipped with great strength and could turn on us in an instant.  Complacency could become a killer.

Update Feb 10/16.  Apple was not seen the fall of 2015 although 2 bears, thought to be the cubs, were observed.  They would be about 18 months old.  Grizzly cubs typically stay with the mother for 2 to 3 years.  Four bears were legally shot in the area in 2015 and who knows how many more illegally.  The locals think Apple may be one of these bears.  

End of this blog.  Scroll down for previous blog.


  1. Great photos! You two must be brave, thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks Leona. Many of the real close shots were taken from the car. (There goes my credibility)

  3. This must of been a once in a lifetime experience being so close.
    I love the photo of derek running across the bridge.
    I was also lucky enough to see Apple on Saturday which was amazing but the light was not very good.

  4. What a wonderful documentation of grizzly behavior you have captured, Len. Apple seems small to me for a grizzly but maybe that is an illusion of photography. Love how you have caught the subtle colours in their coats and the body language. Hope they are around for many years, but the life of these bears are becoming so subject to "civilization", that we can only hope. Thanks for sharing this precious story with us , Ferne

    1. Thanks Ferne. I think the inland grizzlies are a little smaller than the coastal ones.

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