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Grizzly bears in B.C.’s Chilcotin feast on salmon, prepare for hibernation

Photographer Monika Petersen shares images from her trip to Chilko River

For Monika and Sam Petersen, taking trips to photograph B.C. wildlife is a must on their to-do list.

Recently the Williams Lake couple went on a trip to the Chilcotin to photograph bears, specifically grizzly bears.

Monika, who is originally from Germany, said they have been photographing bears in the Bella Coola Valley for years, but this was the second year they took their cameras to the Chilcotin in search of bears.

“As soon as we arrived at the river, we were excited to see massive amounts of salmon which meant massive amounts of food for the bears,” she said, recalling their recent trip where they stay in a cozy log cabin.

The next day they set out with a guide on a river drift and as soon as they got in the boat, they could see a grizzly sow and her two cubs across from the boat launch.

“Our guide slowly approached but made sure to leave appropriate space between the bears and the boat. This was the first time I have seen this particular bear which the locals call Blondie. She and her cubs put on quite a show for us and my telephoto lens got a workout from the beginning to the end.”

Monika said she also made sure to sometimes just sit back and enjoy the bears without looking through the camera.

“We were able to spend an incredible few hours with many photo opportunities of these majestic animals. Overall we saw two sows with three cubs each, a sow with two cubs, and also a single female which looked like she might be having cubs early next year.”

And at the end of their boat tour, Monika said they had one last encounter with Blondie.

“While we were heading back to the boat launch, we noticed that Blondie and her cubs were on and next to the dock. She made us wait quite a while before she moved on and we could get back onshore. What a thrill this was from the first to the last moment. Maybe we will see all of these gorgeous animals again next year because I do not doubt that we will be back.”

Petersen’s images can be seen on her Instragram account at:

Read More: Record number humpback calves spotted off B.C.’s south coast in 2021

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Angie Mindus

About the Author: Angie Mindus

I began my journalism career in daily and weekly newspapers in Alberta.
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