Locals living near Canada’s Knight Inlet have noticed a decrease in the number of salmon making their annual trip to spawn in the rivers.
As a result, the grizzly bears are getting scrawnier and, alarmingly, much more aggressive.
Sadly, for the bears and the tourists who come to watch them feeding, the stocks of salmon have been steadily dropping.
Worried locals are blaming two alarming factors namely climate change and salmon farming.
What’s Wrong With Salmon Farming?
The problems of salmon farming have been an ongoing worry.
Scientists have been researching for many years and the damage it causes to the environment is extensively documented.
There are concerns about the spreading of parasites, pesticide pollution, and thousands of tons of waste being swept back into the ocean.
Another huge concern is the possibility of farmed fish escaping from the confines of the nets and contaminating the gene pool of wild salmon.
The impact on the salmon spawning grounds is already apparent.
For example, usually, five million Sockeye salmon return to British Columbia every summer to spawn.
This year a mere 600 000 of the fish arrived.
This vastly reduced amount of salmon is not nearly enough to satisfy the needs of the grizzly bears, nor the needs of the aboriginal people who fish for a living there.
This substantial drop is leading to a conflict between the needs of the bears and the livelihood of the local fishermen.
As concerns were growing about the sustainability of the indigenous grizzly bears, an association called Mamalilikulla First Nation initiated a salmon feeding campaign.
They aimed to ensure that the bears got enough nourishment to meet their dietary needs.
This basically means that they need to consume large amounts of fatty fish over the summer months.
This is vital for the survival of the bears during their long winter hibernation.