WDFW says a long-dead grizzly found on a North Puget Sound beach north of Bellingham may have been washed out of nearby mountains during spring flooding but also notes the species is known to swim from the British Columbia mainland over to Vancouver Island.
These waters are more known for random feet in shoes drifting in to shore, but agency biologists responding to reports of a dead bear in the Cherry Point area last Friday confirmed the animal was a grizzly.
“The carcass was in decay, and there were no obvious signs as to the bear’s cause of death,” a statement from WDFW reads.
The news was first reported by the Bellingham Herald and subsequently picked up by other outlets, including the Tri-Cities Herald.
Cherry Point is not far from the mouth of the Fraser River and the south end of the Strait of Georgia between the continent and Vancouver Island.
Grizzlies are very rare in Washington, mostly occurring in extreme Northeast Washington. Last spring federal biologists captured a mother near Metaline Falls. That bruin had three cubs in tow.
WDFW reports that genetic samples were extracted from the washed-up carcass for analysis and the US Fish and Wildlife Service was advised.
“While there are currently no known resident grizzly bears in Washington’s North Cascade Mountains, grizzly populations do reside in British Columba’s Coast Range not far from the cities of Vancouver and Squamish, and are sporadically documented swimming from the mainland to Vancouver Island. It’s plausible this bear washed down during recent flooding. WDFW, the USFWS and Canadian partners will be coordinating to better understand where this grizzly bear may have come from,” WDFW stated.