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In the course of a 4 day stay at a remote wilderness lodge in the Great Bear Rainforest in October 2004 I was fortunate to get to know a number of individual bears and their personalities and habits. At this lodge in Lower Mainland British Columbia guests can participate in morning and afternoon viewing sessions, each 3-4 hours in length, and during my stay I had a number of repeat encounters with the same bears on successive days. Amongst them was Oedipus, a 4-5 year old male (pictured above left) who has remained with his mother Jocasta long after other bears his age have struck out on their own, or more usually been sent packing by their long suffering mothers. As a sub-adult he would be relatively lowly in the grizzly bear pecking order, but with his mother backing him up he can dominate larger, older bears and has become something of a handful - a teenage delinquent!

Often on the receiving end of Oedipus' bullying tactics is another young male that the lodge owner and resident biologist guide has named "Struan". He was a familar sight during my stay, often competing with a pair of young siblings pair known as "The Boys" for the prime fishing spots, despite his apparently gentle nature. Interestinglt whenever I saw "Struan" he always seemed to have a companion - a lone crow who seemed to follow him.

One the last day of my stay at the lodge we were in a vehicle on a strecth of restored logging road beside a salmon spawning river when a female grizzly with a "COY" (cub of year) emerged from the treeline on th eopposite bank. The cub's bushy coast was quite blonde with a white collar and it was quite the most attractive cub I'd ever seen. The river levels were quite high making catching salmon a tricky proposition but the pair waded out to a gravel bank in the middle of the river where they set about eating their fill while gulls waited in attendance to pick up their leftover scarps.

The female was quite an accomplished fisher, but the cub seemed more interested in playing with the fruits of her labour than eating it. At one point it seized a large decaying Chum salmon and violently shook it like a terrier, coating itself in fish guts in the process! Mother looked on with an apparently despairing expression as it vainly attempted to clean itself with its front paws, only to cover even more of its coat with the sticky mess.


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