Bears across B.C. are plumping up as they get ready to hibernate — and this big bear, that was filmed feasting on salmon, has definitely been getting his bare necessities.
B.C. wildlife photographer Todd Byrnes shared footage of the black bear devouring the last of the salmon at Thornton Creek Hatchery in Ucluelet, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, to his Instagram page last week.
The creek is a popular destination for visitors during the fall salmon run, especially bears looking for a tasty meal.
“It’s a pretty reliable place to watch bears come back and catch salmon,” Byrnes told Vancouver Is Awesome.
“At lower tide they cruise the shore looking for fish that have become stranded or, as the tide drops, fish that are trapped.
“It’s kind of the end of the run for the salmon now, so there’s not too many around.”
One video show the healthy bear pause in the creek before jumping onto a large salmon and taking it to shore to devour.
“The bears are lazy, so they want to catch salmon at low tide so they are not having to swim too much,” Brynes said. “That salmon had already spawned and it had actually already died — he’s literally picking up the last scraps.”
Byrnes said the bear easily ate four or five salmon.
“He was a very healthy bear. You can tell he’s a little more on the pudgy side, getting ready for winter,” he said.
Having lived in Tofino for the past 17 years, Byrnes said he often cruised around on his little zodiac and watched the bears and their cubs.
“In Tofino, we have a really unique area where the bears, at low tide, will go down to the shore and roll rocks and eat crab,” he said. “It’s only a small stretch of area that they do that, but it’s a reliable way to see bears and get relatively close to them.
“It’s a really neat experience. They are pretty cute to watch.
"They all have their own individual personalities and the more you go out, the more you start figuring out their personalities and learning the different bears.”
Byrnes started experimenting with photography as an eight-year-old and went on to work in commercial photography for 25 years, before he moved to the island. He now owns vacation rentals and sells his art and nature photography for enjoyment.
“I came here for one day 17 years ago and I haven’t left yet,” Byrnes said.
“It’s a pretty magical spot.”
You can find more of Byrnes’ photos and videos on his Istagram page @todd.byrnes.