Posts Tagged ‘Brown Bears’

Bears and Us

Football season is upon us so why not talk about da Bears?
Of course, the kind I’m talking about are grizzlies. One of the first questions I’m usually asked by people who are considering coming to Alaska is “what about the bears” meaning of course what kind of danger will I be exposed to if I travel there?
My normal response is that the bears live here and as long as we all respect that and understand that we are visitors in their habitat there is really very little danger.

Whenever there is an incident where someone is injured or killed by a bear it is almost always the result of someone doing something they shouldn’t do or being someplace they shouldn’t be. There are attacks that seem to be unprovoked but they are fairly rare.

I’m certainly not as expert as some, but I’ve been coming to Alaska many years and have read many books on the subject, listened to others with a lot of experience and had my own encounters.

This year I’ve been given a number of opportunities to observe both grizzly and black bears in their environment. Most of these had one or two cubs and the mama grizzly I wrote about in a recent blog from last year had four yearlings.

They love to come down to the streams and waterfalls around Valdez to feed on the salmon that come here to spawn each year. I have been paying closer attention to their behavior this year as the moms protect and nurture the young ones during their feeding.

The mom’s main mission is food for herself but also she is teaching the cubs how to fish and it’s an incredible sight to see how they coax, lead and sometimes, as one did the other night, simply push the cubs into the water to find the fish.

I think the most important things for me or any visitor to the wilderness to remember is that wild animals in many ways are just like us. By that I mean they instinctively want to feel and be safe, they want to be able to feed and live in their environment without being harassed and they want to protect and raise their young. Sound familiar?? Pretty simple.

I’ve decided in the future that when asked the question “ what about the bears”? I will clearly let them know we won’t be watching television. Seriously, I think I will be sure to add that I hope they will get to observe these magnificent animals in their natural habitat when they visit. To experience first hand bears, moose, sea lions, seals, whales and birds is a joy and a privilege that not everyone gets to experience.

These encounters will create a lifetime of memories and hopefully give thrill seekers a new perspective and appreciation of wild animals…..as we like to say “only in Alaska

Mama grizzly teaching cub to catch salmon

Mama grizzly teaching cub to catch salmon

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