The social order of brown bears seems to be like that of lions:
- The alpha male is dominant
- Key activities are eating and procreation
- Mothers are devoted to their children
- Youngsters play
The alpha male is dominant
Where does the 1200 pound bear go? Where he wants.
The largest bear at Brooks Falls is bear 747, shown above. The US Park Service identifies bears by number, rather than a name, to maintain a more neutral view of the bears.
Bear 747 is coming up the Falls. The farthest bear is walking away with a salmon. The closest bear, standing at the prime fishing spot, is watching. The smaller bears give the big bears space.
A second big bear has seen better days. His right ear has been torn off, and there are wounds on his face.
Key activities are eating and procreation
Bears at the Falls spent most of their time fishing and eating, which will the subject of a later post.
Bear 747 spent a lot of time following a female bear. A volunteer told us that he had been following her for weeks, but they hadn’t mated yet this year.
Mothers are devoted to their children
Rangers stressed that you have to keep your distance from mothers and their cubs. Mothers get upset when people get between them and their cubs.
There were two mother bears with cubs at Brooks Falls. The mother and four cubs are walking on a road toward the Lodge. (You can only see three cubs in this photo, but there are four.)
Here the second mother and her cub are running through the water to elude a male.
Adolescents are smaller than adults but more active. Smaller than adults, they hung out at the riffles below the Falls, rather than challenge adults for the prime fishing spots.
Frisky, young bears are fun to watch.