A large brown bear carries a huge salmon out of the water after fishing in the McNeil River. The McNeil river drains into the Cook Inlet along Alaska’s southwest coast. The McNeil is the prime habitat of numerous animals, but is most famous for its salmon and brown bears (also known as grizzly bears).
This salmon is particularly large, making it suitable for this particularly large grizzly bear. Plants make up almost 80 percent of a grizzly bear’s diet, so you can imagine how much it must prize a tasty, huge salmon such as this catch!
The Alaska State legislature designated the McNeil River area as a wildlife sanctuary in 1967 to protect the world’s largest concentration of wild brown bears. Although all five species of Pacific salmon are present in the sanctuary, it is the calico-colored chum (or dog salmon) that primarily attracts bears to McNeil River in early July through mid-August. The salmon are driven by a biological need to swim upstream to spawn in the same waters where they were born. Grizzly bears take advantage of this migration to eat huge amounts of salmon, which is so hugely available that the grizzlies stop competing for territory, peacefully feeding from the same food supply with other bears.
Stock Image #20080816-123940