Sea to Sky corridor bear research Michael Allen reached out to Pique to offer some thoughts on the charging grizzly caught on camera at the Elaho River on July 13.
Corey Boux, a guide with Wedge Rafting at TAG Whistler, posted the video to Instagram. In a comment on the post, he explained the bear "was guarding a dead elk. It stood up looked at the 3 rafts looked at the kayaker and bolted after him... They are pretty unpredictable, especially if guarding a food source."
Michael Allen: I use remote cameras along Squamish-Elaho Rivers to follow black bears and timberwolves.
At least seven different grizzly bears have been captured by these cameras this season, and more grizzlies will move through the area into salmon season.
It's common to see a grizzly bear anywhere along these rivers and they frequently hunt elk and moose using the river and floodplain habitats.
If people smell anything foul or rotting or see the actual carcass, they should leave the area immediately.
This bear in the video was naturally defending its food supply from the rafters and likely chose the kayaker to charge because he was closer (not necessarily because it was smaller than the raft).
Distance is everything to bears and how they interpret threat. The swift approach of the kayak and raft down the river, and close to the bear, is also threatening (even if there wasn't a carcass).
Black bears have been seen charging at skiers/snowboarders and bikers as the bear is threatened by their sudden, fast approach.
There is no worse way to encounter a bear than doing it fast and quietly with no warning to the bear.
The Squamish-Elaho River valley is experiencing a spike in recreation use and users need to be respectful of important floodplain habitats for bears, especially in the Elaho valley where the landscape is "stressed" from the 2015 forest fire.
Please, leave no footprint.