Island grizzly sighting has conservation officers scratching their heads
A grizzly bear sighting near Campbell River has conservation officers wondering if the animals are establishing a resident population on Vancouver island.
A video posted to social media Tuesday shows a large grizzly chewing on long grass at the side of a logging road north of Campbell River.
While there are approximately 15,000 grizzly bears in B.C., and plenty of black bears on Vancouver Island, the area is not typical grizzly habitat.
The bears have nonetheless been known to swim to the North Island from the mainland, stopping at adjacent islands along the way.
The bear in the video has reportedly been spotted several times over the past week. A photo posted online by a Cermaq Canada employee in Campbell River shows the same bear foraging along the river.
Conservation officers say they receive calls every year about grizzlies on the island.
"Vancouver Island is historically not known to be grizzly bear habitat," said conservation officer Peter Pauwel.
"The exact circumstances as to how and why they're coming here, we don't know. Whether that represents a change or whether there is an established population over here, we don't know enough about that yet."
Grizzlies have a reputation of being more aggressive than black bears when it comes to protecting food and their young. Anyone who encounters a grizzly is advised to keep a safe distance from the animal.