Visitors flock to Knight Inlet, north of Vancouver, British Columbia, in hope of spotting a grizzly bear. On a recent visit, tour operator and photographer Rolf Hicker actually saw three, but it was no cause for celebration. "Advertising still shows the happy bears feasting on salmon, well, sorry to say—not here," Hicker wrote Sept. 23 on Facebook, alongside photos of an emaciated sow and two cubs. Salmon, a primary food source, has been on the decline in recent years, per CNN. "I sure prefer to show you beautiful nice wildlife and nature pictures but it is important and my duty as a photographer to show you this side too," Hicker wrote, adding that he hadn't seen a single salmon on his trip.
Indeed, BC fishermen—seeking federal disaster relief for an industry already seeing the depletion of salmon populations due to warming oceans, pollution, and disease spread from open-net fish farms—have described this as the worst season for wild salmon in almost 50 years. The Mamalilikulla First Nation arranged to have 500 salmon carcasses spread around Knight Inlet's shores on Sunday, where the bears feed. And other deliveries may follow, reports CTV News. But this is hardly a permanent solution. As the chief councillor tells the CBC, "we just hope we can get enough bulk on them to last the winter." (Alaska's salmon are hurting, too.)