Brown Bears of Katmai

Wed, Jun 21, 2017

Alaska just keeps getting better.  Eagles yesterday and brown bears today.

We’re in Homer, AK and it is just a 60 min fight to Katmai National Park and Preserve, famous for their Alaskan Brown Bears.

Carol wouldn’t come but I was all too happy to hop a flight on Smokey Bay Air.  Never mind that it was a 43 year old Cessna (yikes).

We landed on the beach at Hallo Bay and it didn’t take but a few minutes to find the bears.

When Mama bear has cubs, she cares for them for two or three years.  Then when she has new cubs, the juveniles must go.  Siblings typically stay together for a while before going their separate paths and these two are trying to figure it out.

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Next up were a couple of bigs ones.  Most likely a mating pair although the mating season is all but over.  These two were very affectionate.

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A juvenile scratching his back.

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This shot gives an idea of how close we were to the bears.  And at no time did I fee that they were stressed by our presence.  This works because they see us as neither food nor a threat.  To maintain the latter, we moved slowly and kneeled down when sitting in our viewing sites.

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On our approach to landing, I saw a sow with two spring cubs walking in the meadow and I was hoping to find them.  And then, as we were heading back to the plane, bingo! there they were.  In this shot, they were moving to a new spot so that she could resume her grazing.  Her cubs might nibble some but they’re living mainly on mama’s milk.

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Here’s another shot of them.  Mom’s been grazing and one of her cubs became curious when the group of photographers stood up to head back to their plane.

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Our guide is out here daily and has only seen spring cubs (those born this year) once this year.  During the mating season, mama bear keeps her cubs safely in the trees or else a big boy might kill them.  So that he can mate with her.  Now that the mating season is over, she’s brought them out to the pasture.  We were very fortunate to see them 🙂

And one last parting shot of the cubs.  Cute, no?  My guess:  girl on the left, boy on the right.

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On our way out, we spotted this big boy lying in the grass.  Moments later, he turned on his side for a nice nap.  No doubt he was snoring by the time we were airborne.

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One thought on “Brown Bears of Katmai

  1. Pingback: The Bus Ride at Denali | DC Airstream

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