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The abundance of fish in Chatham Sound ensures a virtually inexhaustible supply of food for the region’s grizzly bears who comb the estuaries each summer.

Accessible either by boat or floatplane, Chatham Sound makes a great addition to any wildlife cruise and offers remote beaches and beautifully scenic hikes. The abundant wildlife includes sealions, porpoises, orcas and humpback whales, as well as bald eagles.

Chatham Sound is a gateway to the Khutzeymateen Valley, home to one of the highest populations of brown (grizzly) bears in North America, who come to feed on the plentiful supply of salmon. The salmon run usually starts in mid-May with the arrival of the chinook, peaking from late June to mid-July.

Named in 1794 by Captain George Vancouver for John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham, whose brother William became Prime Minister of Great Britain, it should not be confused with Chatham Strait in the Alaska Panhandle, named after their father William, the first Earl. 

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Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: humpback whale, minke whale, orca, Dall’s porpoise, grey whale
  • Where: British Columbia, Canada

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itinerary:

Grizzlies of Khutzeymateen

Experience the grizzly bears of Khutzeymateen Inlet in British Columbia aboard the Island Roamer, on a large carnivore themed expedition. Around 50 coastal brown bears are known to be protected in this conservation area, and other wildlife includes includes humpbacks, orcas, sealions and dolphins.

  • When to go: Jun
  • Duration inc. flights: 10 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,395 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour