Caught this guy last August having a blast in a pond with his toy – a stick! Distance to the cameraman was about 75 yards, uphill, upwind , a log for a tripod and a 28-300mm zoom lens.
Grizzlies live generally a non communal solitary life , only living in groups when a mother is nurturing her young, the cubs will play with siblings until adulthood. The breeding season for grizzlies usually occurs in June and July when the bears reach maturity, around 5 years of age. The male chooses his mate and spends a month mating with her, then leaves to continue his solitary life. Grizzlies will typically forage and hunt during morning and evening hours,the afternoon is set aside to play and rest while using night to sleep.
Grizzly bears have few enemies except other bears and humans, when they go wandering into camp grounds and towns. Grizzly bears are usually peaceful animals. They try to avoid a fight and run from danger, but are short tempered and get angry easily and quickly. They are fierce fighters and will attack anything that seems to threaten them or their cubs, food or home.
Aside from increasing plant life in their ecosystems the grizzly bear also plays a large part in regulating prey populations in the ecosystem. By feeding on smaller species such as rodents, the grizzly bear is helping to keep the balance of the food chain in check. Without the grizzly bear the rapidly growing populations of rodents and other small prey that the grizzly feeds upon would quickly grow out of hand and take over.
As omnivores, bears will eat almost anything, from grass to insects to elk to garbage to raiding the squirrel’s cache of pine cones. For much of this century, many of the bears foraged on tourist trash or town dumps, often while the visitor’s watched. In Banff the discouragement of owning and feeding of bears started in the 1950’s, however it took another thirty years to close the rubbish buffet at the local restaurants, Banff Springs and the Rimrock. The Bears both Grizzly and Black would literally run up and down the back alleys going from one feed to another. Finally Parks Canada got tough on offenders and introduced the Bear proof garbage bins. The bears that survived had to return to their natural cuisine.
About 31,000 grizzlies live in Alaska and in 2008, it was estimated there were 16,014 grizzly bears in western Canada, the Yukon and NWT. The bear population has declined to about 1200 in the continental U.S.(lower 48 states) as they were excessively overhunted and they are only found in limited areas of Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and Washington.
Adult grizzly bears have little to fear from other wild animals as they are at the top of the food chain. Their only enemy is man where habitat loss and mortalities caused by humans are the greatest threats to the bear’s survival today.
Remember – always beware and Bear Smart
To view the entire album and a larger view goto The Picture Window
To view the West Coast Grizzlies goto The Picture Window