Column: Wily wildlife shows aptitude for survival

Shuswap Outdoors by Hank Shelley

Way back when, some folks objected to the Telus animals and their cute movements the giant telecom company used for T V adds. There was the one add about the gander Canada goose scolding the guy who didn’t put his litter in the container. The one about the pig that could fly was even better.

Yes, in real life, animals are now adapting to our human way of life.

In most incidents, we are crowding them out of their habitats,with urban sprawl and industrial development. A number of years ago, a South Okanagan regional district did a survey. For each new rural home, 120 hectares is affected either by traffic flow or family activity (school busses, dogs barking etc.). Of course, bears, cougars and coyotes become accustomed and adapt. Deer become plentiful in back yards (to avoid predators).

Bears enjoy garbage, apples and plums and other fruits of human activity. Bear aware programs are very helpful. Canada geese are very smart and adaptable, protected by the humans around them.

For many years military forces trained dolphins, and now beluga whales to do many tasks.

Read more: Bears killed after clawing way into home near Hope

Read more: VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Read more: ‘Garbage-fed bears are dead bears’ – South Okanagan conservation officer

Last summer, while salmon fishing off Zeballos, a giant yellow sunfish surfaced. They can weigh 800 lbs, and eat jelly fish. Quickly, a group of seagulls settled on its back, to rid it of parasites. As we watched, a seal jumped into our boat and promptly sat in the captain’s chair. Cruising under and alongside, two orcas glided by. We ran the seal a kilometre,where it bounced over the side to survive another day.

Watching an orca take a 35 lb salmon off an anglers line last week near Bella Bella showed how intelligent they hunt – similar to black bears and grizzlies honing in on a rifle shot in Northern B.C. or the Kootenays, to quickly close in on an unsuspecting hunter who has harvested a deer or elk.

Seals hone in on salmon anglers with a fish on a line, and most anglers remove the clickers from their reels in hopes of bringing their catch to the boat.

A few years back, while visiting the Summerland hatchery, I noticed a large aquarium with many small trout in the tank. One larger one kept all others in a small group.The technician said he was the boss for the day, then another trout would take over. It’s been proven that large trout can and will avoid lures, etc. if they’ve been caught before. Once bitten twice shy!

Get out to enjoy some great fall fishing!


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