Dominant Grizzly bear in front of waterfall

In Images by Matt Shetzer

Dominant Grizzly bear in front of waterfall

This dominant grizzly stands in front of a waterfall in Katmai National Park, Alaska during the annual salmon run. Bears will often try to snatch salmon out of mid-air as the fish try to jump up the waterfalls to spawn.

Every summer, salmon begin swimming upstream, against the current. This strange phenomenon is due to a strong evolutionary drive present in the salmon that requires them to lay their eggs where they themselves were born. Salmon spawn in the headwaters of many Alaskan rivers. In order to reach these ancestral breeding grounds, the fish need to fight the current for weeks, including jumping up waterfalls in a spectacular display seen nowhere else in nature.

For the predatory and dominant grizzly bears, which often feed on salmon, this event is like Christmas in July. All bears in an area will swarm to the rivers to gorge themselves on the swollen food supply. The smarter, larger, and more dominant grizzlies will stand in front of waterfalls in order to pick off the fish trying to jump the falls. A grizzly in front of a waterfall has to expend much less energy than one which must run around in a river chasing fish.

Stock Image #20080816-181608

Dominant Grizzly bear in front of waterfall was last modified: February 21st, 2018 by Matt Shetzer