#BearCam Q&A With Ranger Roy
Thanks for taking part in our #BearCam Twitter Chat on August 6th with Katmai National Park’s Ranger Roy! In case anyone missed it, here were some of the great questions and answers:
Q: Do the males fish more at the falls? Are any of the bears we’ve seen at the falls in the past weeks females?
A: Primarily large males fish the falls. Subadults will fish downstream. In the last week, there’ve been some females.
Q: Are the salmon heading upstream and, if so, why do the bears face the falls? Are they more likely to see fish leap?
A: These bears are masters at what they do. If there was a better way of fishing, the bears would’ve figured it out!
Q: Does the tide cause the river to run faster and slower accordingly?
A: Brooks River is not tidally influenced. The changes in flow are from rainfall and snowmelt.
Q: DNA testing: I have used biopsy darts on marine mammals for DNA samples, but I was safe in a boat! How do you dart the bears?
A: There are two ways we get DNA from Brooks bears. Hair snares and a biopsy dart shot from the safety of the platforms.
Q: Is it REALLY buggy today? #bearcam appears REALLY buggy (like, insects, not software). Are they like horseflies?
A: We get a lot of mosquitoes (white socks). If you think the camera is getting a lot of them, think of being behind the camera.
Q: Why is #bearcam so mesmerizing?
A: Could it be the aquarium phenomenon? It’s relaxing. I’ve wondered this myself.
Q: The bear who’s always in the jacuzzi, facing the falls - is that a position of power or submission to the other bears?
A: The jacuzzi is a great place to catch fish. Typically only the largest of the males can occupy that spot.
Q: Will the cams be operated live at the lower river in september?
A: Yes! Here is a link to the lower river cam.
Q: Why do they prefer the falls when it would seem in shallower, slower moving water they could find fish easier?
A: The falls increase the # of fish/square meter. Having fish exhausted and stacked up against the falls is easy pickins.
Q: Is the water really cold, how do the bears stand it?
A: To a brown bear, the 54 degree brooks river is refreshing.
Q: Is the lip really a better salmon-catching position?
A: The lip is only really a better fishing spot IF you have the paw eye, mouth coordination to do so.
Q: Brown bears are territorial, aren’t they? Why don’t they seem to mind one another at the falls?
A: The abundance of salmon brings aggregations of bears together. The desire to get fish outweighs the desire to be solitary.
Q: What do you hear [when a bear catches a fish]? Do they have special voice of happiness (Yes, Salmon!)?
A: The only sounds you hear are horrifying crunching noises as they dismantle salmon. When cubs feed, they purr like kittens.
Q: Are bears known for having good vision? Seems it would be hard to spot the salmon in those rapids.
A: Bear vision is about as good as a human’s, but they have much better night vision than us.
Q: As a 37 year old middle-manager in NYC, is it too late to be like you and live in the woods?
A: It’s never too late.
Q: Do bears share dens for hibernation, or do they each have their own? (if the latter, how are there 2k dens??)
A: Mothers & cubs share a den. When they’re away from mom, siblings have been known to share. Adults never share dens.
Q: Do the bears ever take a swipe at the birds?
A: Half-heartedly, yes. I suspect the ratio of bones to meat to feathers is not to their liking.
Q: Is it every bear for him-herself or do they ever share?
A: The only bears that share are mothers w/ their cubs & even that can be begrudging. I’ve seen mothers smack a cub who steals.
Q: Next year #bearcam needs highlight reel. And HD.
Posted 9 months ago