Emaciated grizzly bears photographed before hibernation as Canada's salmon population declines

James Marshall
October 7, 2019

"The bears are starving and it breaks my heart seeing this unfold", he said in a Facebook post.

On a recent visit, tour operator and photographer Rolf Hicker actually saw three, but it was no cause for celebration.

A report released by the Fisheries and Oceans Canada in August revealed the country's climate is warming twice as fast as the global average - directly impacting the ecosystems salmon rely on.

"They were approaching our camps, and we are seeing them in areas we rarely ever see bears", Rick Snowdon, owner of Spirit of The West Adventures, told CNN. On Sunday, Smith joined volunteers who hauled 500 pink salmon to the shoreline that were donated by a fishery to try to stave off starvation.

"We were about 30 feet away from them", Smith told the news outlet. "A little grizzly looked up at us and the mother bear came out to get the fish".

According to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, bears weight between 220 to 880 pounds. They fatten up over summer and fall months in order to survive hibernation by living off the fat they've built up.

He included that with food stuff supplies tapped, bears should glimpse in other places for sustenance, a place backed up by the province's Ministry of Forests, Lands, Purely natural Resource Operations and Rural Progress. "If salmon runs in the area are lower than expected, this will have an added effect and bears may have to travel further to find food", the organization said in a statement to CNN.

Grizzly bears typically settling in for the long sleep around November, before emerging five to seven months later. However, this is not a local problem, and experts have suggested that, in addition to the significant impact of climate change, wherever there is salmon farming, that wild salmon populations will be negatively affected.

A steady decline has been seen in the salmon population in British Columbia over the past few years, with the commercial fishing industry also struggling to obtain ample amounts of this fish.

Many also claim open-net fish farming is another component, as the method is criticized for spreading diseases and polluting the water.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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