Friday, October 27, 2017

The Bears of Katmai

I recently returned from a great adventure. I traveled to Alaska to visit the Brown Bears in South-East Alaska

The Brooks River in the Katmai National Park and Preserve is a long way from the Midwest. It takes three or four airplane rides to travel all the way to Brooks Camp

In September the Bears are busy with one thing: eating!!

Since leaving their dens in March and April, the bears have been busy regaining the 40% of body weight that was lost during the winter hibernation.

The cubs and their mammas travel up and down the river fishing and grazing on late season berries.

These are 'cubs of the season'. Born in January, they emerged from the den with their mother in the spring. They will hibernate with her this winter and spend next summer with her as well.

The juvenile bears that have separated from their mothers are out there too. When not eating they are often wrestling, practicing for the more serious battles that will take place in the future. The battles we saw could be loud and vigorous, but usually (but not always !) no blood is shed.

The big male bears hang out at Brooks Falls. These bears are the expert fishermen. One bear might catch and eat six or eight salmon in a matter of a few hours. The guides said that we were witnessing a strong fall salmon run.

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