September 27, 2014

Black Bears on the Boardwalk and Grizzlies of the Deep

With the draw of whales near Telegraph Cove, its easy to forget the other major mammals in the area, both on land and in the water. Telegraph Cove is built up on boardwalks along the coast, and one morning this young black bear followed a stream down to the sea and was wandering around at low tide looking for tasty invertebrates under the rocks. He seemed quite unphased by the gaggle of tourists following along above and taking his picture.
 Out in the water, the Steller Sea Lions are equally impressive mammals. Since we typically see them from boats where we are both far away and much higher up they can seem comical, but they are pretty big and impressive creatures in their own rights. They are infact the largest of the eared seals and combine the size of bears with the sociability of dogs.
 Carrying the bear analogy one step further, the Whale Interpretive Centre has skeleton samples of most of the resident mammals, and a quick comparison between a grizzly bear and a steller sea lion shows more than a passing resemblance. This should not come as a huge surprise since both groups share common Arctoidea ancestors and are really just different twigs on the same branch of the mammalian family tree.

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