Down At the Swimming Hole

How many countries afford opportunities to experience polar bears and grizzlies in the space of days?

After the unique opportunity to observe polar bears in Manitoba the week before last, today came with an opportunity to see grizzly bears close to home. Since we were at Kits Beach yesterday, we decided this morning to pop over to the North Shore and Grouse Mountain. There, visitors can observe two orphanied grizzlies who now make their home on the mountain.

While this fellow may look sweet, you’ll want to know that bears can readily consume more than a hundred pounds of salmon in a single day, as they need almost 20,000 calories daily. As omnivores, they also rely on berries, seeds, insects and more for nutrition. Grizzlies range from 1.5 – two meters (5 – 8′) in length, and can live as long as 20 or 25 years.

Bears’ sense of smell is a thousand times more effective than ours and, even more importantly, they are even faster than Usain Bolt. While the Olympic champion, the fastest known runner, clocks in at a speed of 43 kilometers an hour, bears can accelerate to a speed of up to 64 kilometers an hour.

This fellow and his companion – I’m not sure which is Coola and which is Grinder – hibernated from November 28 until March 6 this past winter, and the cool pond must have been refreshing. These creatures are spectacular; just look at this fellow’s claws in the image below, and watch here for more shots to follow.

Grizzly 4997 Copyright Shelagh Donnelly

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