Bears like to cool of in the water.Alaska has roughly 31,700 grizzly bears compared to Canada's 25,000. In the continuous United States there are approximately 1,000 grizzly bears left. The scientific name is Ursus arctos horribilis. The average brown bear in Alaska weighs between 330 pounds to 794 pounds depending on the habitat. Bears weight can range from 209 pounds to 1,716 pounds. The bears in the Kodiak area have an abundance of salmon to feed on and tend to be larger than inland bears. Bears whose main diet is berries, vegetation and small animals such as rodents and squirrels tend to be much smaller. Grizzly bears inhabit various elevations. They can be found in the forests, grasslands, flats and meadows. In early fall, grizzly bears move to higher elevations where they can hibernate in places with high concentrations of insulating snow. They will often dig a den under the roots of trees. They prepare a den in October or November and hibernate for five or six months. (It is so warm this year, November 28, 2000, that the Fish and Wildlife report the bears are still not in hibernation.) They live solely off of their stored body fat during hibernation. The heart rate of the bear will lower during hibernation from between 40 and 70 beats per minute to about 8 to 12 beats per minute, thus lowering their metabolism to about half of what it is during their active season. There body temperature will not decrease.  The female gives birth in January. She generally breeds every three to four years. She will mate for the first time between the ages of five to seven. She can breed until thirty years old but normally her life survival rate is around twenty years of age. She will have a litter of one to three cubs (two is the most common) while in her hibernation den. The cubs will weigh less than a pound at birth but when they emerge from the den they will weigh almost twenty pounds. The first year of the cubs life is critical because approximately 40 percent die from predation, starvation, disease and infanticide. Females leave the dens in April or May depending on the climatic and physiological conditions. Males leave the den in March or April. When the bear comes out of hibernation it has lost between fifteen and forty percent of its body fat. Grizzly cubs hibernate with their mothers for the first two winters. In the summer she helps them learn to hunt and forage for themselves. These photographs were shot at Denali National Park. If you are planning on visiting the Park, I recommend you make your reservations as early as possible. Many people book as far as one year in advance for lodging and bus tours. You can often get a tour on the same day or within two or three days but it is with the more expensive tour company. We have tried both Companies and the tours were equally as good. The RV campground is generally full but you can always camp somewhere along the highway. They will not allow you to drive up into the Park beyond the campgrounds so you need bus reservations. You can get off the bus along the way and catch another one later if you are into hiking. There are two bus companies. One includes your meal and the other you bring your own. You have several options on the tours and we usually take the all day tour when we take our grandchildren. It can be costly for a family so be prepared.Glacier National Park is the best place to view bears but you generally have to fly there. The weather can be unpredictable. We were freezing on the first trip and roasting on the second one. Bring appropriate clothing. Layering is best so you can add or remove as the weather dictates. Bring plenty of film, your binnoculars and yourself. Many people like to go to Denali during blueberry season. A bog type blueberry grows very low and close to the ground. They are absolutely delicious. You will see berry pickers walking out in the flats along the highway, so be sure to stop and pick some of your own. The bears can be difficult to photograph as they are not always up close. I used a multiplier for these two pictures. It was my first time using it so hopefully I will get better at this type of photography.

Continue on to see the sleeping bear

Bears 2

Visit the Fox

Visit the Moose

Visit the Eagles

Return to the Dacha


Sign the Guest Book

View the Guest Book