Black bear swimming in Nimpo Lake in the Chilcotin as captured by local resident Ted Hlokoff

Black bear swimming in Nimpo Lake in the Chilcotin as captured by local resident Ted Hlokoff

We know bears can climb but swim? — yes

Earlier this month Ted Hlokoff captured pictures of a big black bear swimming across Nimpo Lake in the Chilcotin.

Earlier this month Ted Hlokoff captured pictures of a big black bear swimming across Nimpo Lake in the Chilcotin.

He and his son-in-law Paul Serdar were trolling for fish on the lake in front of his house when Paul spotted a bear on the opposite side of the lake.

The bear reached into the lake and caught a fish which he promptly ran into the bush to eat.

“About a half hour later it was getting dark so we reeled in,” Ted said. “In the meantime we saw what we thought was a log floating a couple of hundred feet across the bow of my boat so Paul and I investigated the moving log.

“It was a big black bear swimming across the lake. We asked him to wait while I grabbed my camera and we sped back to my dock and grabbed my Canon.”

With his son Travis driving the boat Ted took pictures of the swimming bear.

“We kept our distance,” Ted said. “I used a 350mm lens and we watched the bear go ashore a block from my house!”

Sighting this swimming bear confirmed what Ted had learned years earlier — that bears do swim.

He saw a grizzly bear swimming the Atnarko River some years ago while he and his then 13-year-old daughter were fishing at the campsite located at the bottom of the Bella Coola Hill.

She was casting in the river below him when he noticed a grizzly bear across the river from where she was fishing.

When the bear started swimming across the river toward her Ted frantically tried to get her attention.

“I ran down the trail and when I hit the beach I yelled at her as loud as I could,” Ted said. “She kept casting and didn’t even notice me, or the bear across from her!

“I ran closer to her and continued yelling. She couldn’t hear me because of the rapids.”

“Colynn finally noticed me but couldn’t figure out what I was saying. I pantomimed and waved and pretended to run away.”

She finally realized something was wrong and reeled in her line and ran to where Ted was jumping up and down and waving at her to come to him.

“When she got to me the Grizzly was already standing where she had been fishing just a couple of minutes before,” Ted said.

Ted says he always sees bears on trips to Bella Coola, but the black bears in the area seldom bother people.

He adds that his other daughter Kendra Wood captured pictures of a large black bear at close range a few years ago while working on traffic control in the area.


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