A Couple Notes on Bears from the Rangers
Ranger Mike and Ranger Jeanne have shared a couple important points of information on the Brown Bears of Katmai this season. Our viewers have noticed some of the unusual behaviors and our rangers have a few explanations and background info:
From Ranger Mike:
Last night Ranger Jeanne hinted that I had some news to share. I’d like to watch the speculation run wild, but you don’t need to be on the edge any longer than necessary.
First of all, it is not about 489 Ted. We still haven’t seen him. The news that I have isn’t that earth shattering. In fact, for those of you following the bears closely over the past two weeks, it might be an expected event.
Last Sunday, 856 and 402 mated near Brooks Falls. This confirms what many of us suspected – that 402 was in estrus. Like I’d written about previously, this is odd because she still had a yearling cub to attend to until it was left to fend for itself around July 9. Bears are full of surprises though.
I would be even more surprised if 402 reunites with her former cub, now a 1.5-year-old subadult bear, since she has mated. For now, I’m going to assume she’ll follow the “typical” pattern for a single adult female and go her own way. The 1.5-year-old will have to fend for itself (by the way, we haven’t seen that bear in a few days to the best of my knowledge).
Let’s not forget about 856 and his need either. He followed 402 for about 11 days waiting for the opportunity to mate. As a very dominant bear, he can take advantage of these situations because no other bear has challenged him for females this summer. He’s much thinner, however, than other large males like 747 and 814 Lurch, so 856 was sacrificing weight for the opportunity to sire more offspring.
From Ranger Jeanne:
The timing of the salmon run seemed to be a bit earlier than usual this year. Alaska Fish and Game started counting the escapement for the Naknek River drainage on June 16 this year, while they started on June 22 last year. As of July 17, 2014, the Naknek River escapement was 1,474,428 while by July 18, 2013, it was 938,160 fish. The most bears I’ve see at the Falls this year has probably been 12-13, while I was at the Falls last year on the night where 21-22 bears were visible in one photo. I can’t really say why there is a difference this year.
See all the Bear Cam behavior and drama unfold on the Live #BearCams here!
(Thanks to Juergen for another great #BearCam gif! – see the full thing here http://up.picr.de/16187234ts.