The research project in Glendale Cove that Mel Clapham is running has captured photos of a new grizzly male. Mel has been able to identify him as a returning male from a couple of years ago since he has a distinctive piece of his nose missing. Nicknamed Diablo by our staff the first time he appeared it will be interesting to see how long he stays in our area. The photos in this blog are of another of our grizzly males with the rather fancy nickname of Pretty Boy. The photos are from one of Mel’s research cameras, we appreciate her sharing them with us.
Archive for June, 2011
Grizzly Bear Research in Glendale Cove
Some of you who have visited the lodge in the past three years may have met me during your stay. My name is Melanie Clapham and I have been conducting research out of Knight Inlet Lodge since 2009. My research is looking into how grizzly bears communicate with each other using their sense of smell. This forms the basis of my whole PhD project, of which I am now in my final year. My project is co-funded by Knight Inlet Lodge and the University of Cumbria in the UK. This is where I am based during the winter months, analysing the data I have collected in the previous summer/fall, and writing up my findings. I am now back at the lodge conducting my final field season, and will be here until October. When I am here my days are usually spent searching the estuary for bears, and out in the forest maintaining my trail cameras. These heat and motion-sensitive cameras are the main method of data collection I am using. By placing these cameras facing bear ‘marking trees’ (or ‘rub trees’ as they’re known), I am able to monitor natural scent marking behaviour by different individuals in the population. This way I am also able to assess whether its adult males which seem to be communicating, or adult females, or subadults, and so on. I am also looking at which individuals investigate the scent marks of others, but don’t actually mark on trees themselves. By conducting this data collection between May and October, I can assess how marking behaviour changes during different seasons i.e. the breeding and non-breeding season.
In addition to looking at the social function of scent marking, I have also been documenting the trees which bears mark on. Focusing on what we call ‘traditionally used trees’ which are trees marked on by different bears over many generations, I am looking at whether it is the species, the size, or the location of the tree which makes it favourable to be marked on over others. I believe this is key to explaining the use of trees for scent marking by bears, rather them just been used to relieve an itch. It seems that the selection of these trees is much more structured. So by studying differences in marking behaviour by different age and sex classes, and analysing the trees which bears use to mark on, we are beginning to fit different pieces of the puzzle together in understanding the complexities of chemical communication in grizzly bears.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dean Wyatt and all the staff at Knight Inlet Lodge for their continued support and field assistance throughout this whole project.
University of Cumbria
Richard Davis & Praline Barrand May 2011
What a wonderful experience!!
Our visit to Knight Inlet Lodge was the 2 days of our Canadian holiday we were most looking forward to & it did not disappoint.
From the moment we were met at Campbell River airport by Harold, the Knight Inlet Lodge shuttle driver everything was perfect. The information Harold shared on what lay ahead only magnified our excitement level.
I should mention the overnight stay in Campbell River at Heron’s Landing Hotel exceeded our expectations – lovely atmosphere, well appointed, spacious rooms and staff which went out of their way to make you feel welcome. The continental breakfast included was also a great start to the day.
The 25 minute floatplane flight out to Knight Inlet Lodge from Campbell River was amazing – stunning scenery in every direction & it felt like we had only just taken off when we started our descent into Glendale Cove.
The guided bear viewing excursions, all taken by boat, were fabulous. Due to our visit being so early in the season it was more a case of quality rather than quantity but we were delighted with the bear viewing we experienced. The stars of the show were ‘Lenore’ & ‘Peanut’ – a grizzly bear sow & her 3 year old cub. The Knight Inlet Lodge guides are experts on the bears as well as all the other wildlife you are likely to encounter in Glendale Cove. As well as both grizzly & black bears, we saw harbour seals, minks, pine martens, bald eagles, Canada Geese & an enormous variety of other seabirds, too numerous to mention.
A highlight on one of the estuary tours was seeing a black bear with her two tiny cubs. We had the privilege of being the first Knight Inlet Lodge guests of the season to see these cubs which would have been born in the mother’s den during her winter hibernation.
The excursion by boat up Knight Inlet was breathtaking – in fact we enjoyed the experience so much we chose to do it again on our 2nd day at the lodge. The enormity of the spectacular British Columbia wilderness surrounding Knight Inlet Lodge is truly humbling. The boat excursion was full of highlights – a large black bear fossicking for mussels on the rocky shoreline, bald eagles soaring overhead, Pacific White-Sided dolphins playing in our bow waves & literally dozens of majestic, towering waterfalls tumbling into the inlet. The Knight Inlet guide was a fountain of information & kept us entertained with stories on a wide range of subjects from the First Nations people that have inhabited the area for centuries to the geological history of the inlet.
We also thoroughly enjoyed a tracking tour, an educational walk through the forest searching & learning about the tell tale signs of the local wildlife which call Glendale Cove home. Again, the Knight Inlet Lodge guide amazed us with his knowledge.
One cannot end this blog without praising the exceptional quality of the food served at Knight Inlet Lodge – the chefs deliver meals so delicious one has to keep reminding yourself you are dining at an isolated wilderness lodge, not an award winning restaurant in a major metropolis.
To the entire Knight Inlet Lodge team, many thanks for an unforgettable experience.