- “Boss” is the largest bear within the Banff National Park and dominates all other animals in his environment.
- Unlike most grizzlies, he is known to eat smaller male bears that pose a threat to his dominance.
- Despite being around for 20 years, he has never had a negative encounter with a human… Yet.
The Boss of Banff National Park arrives in the area around early March- marking the beginning of bear season for Canadian citizens. He spends his time stalking through the National Park and getting into situations that feel like they are out of cartoons.
Seeing bears is a common occurrence for the people who live around there. That comes with the territory, literally. Many animals travel through or around the small town of Banff, making their way to the forest or mountains on the other side. Everyone knows how to handle a bear situation unless it’s a bear 122, another moniker for the bear known as the Boss.
Who is The Boss?
The Boss is a grown grizzly bear who weighs a whopping 600 pounds and has many stories to tell from his life of 20 years. He is definitely the largest bear within the Banff National Park and is at the top of the food chain.
People are unsure how he ended up being known as the Boss, but it has stuck and seems to fit very well. He’s one of a few bears that can be recognized because they are often spotted. Male bears aren’t usually seen as often, so he has always stood out.
What really makes the Boss so exemplary are his exploits both inside and outside the town of Banff. Now that we know who the Boss is, we can explore what makes him so remarkable.
The Boss is a Known Cannibal
Being the massive, 600-pound menace the community knows and loves, there isn’t really a bear that can stand up to him. He has been known to eat smaller male bears that pose a threat to his dominance, which isn’t very common for grizzly bears. Bears, in general are not usually predatory among one another.
There was nothing left of the black bear whom the Boss devoured, just a skull, some fur, and four paws. The fact that he completely consumed the black bear is in itself odd. The Boss was five times larger than the 45-pound black bear, so it was quick.
When another bear crosses the Boss’s path, it would be lucky not to be consumed.
The Boss Battles Trains
Bear 122 was part of a collared tracking study and is known to travel a territory of 956 miles as he traverses the wilderness. A large chunk of this time is spent following the train tracks. This is because they are a relatively more straightforward way to travel as the ice melts sooner on them.
The train tracks can also provide food in the form of grains that fall off the trains and other animals struck and killed by the train. This makes it far easier to live his life when he doesn’t have to hunt for food, just protect his territory. There are fewer obstacles in the way, so the travel doesn’t exhaust him.
If you’re looking to spot the Boss, which you shouldn’t be, looking by the train tracks is a surefire way.
One of the problems of this method of travel, though is the risk of being struck by a train. Reportedly he’s been hit by at least one train during his twenty years of expeditions.
Imagine the scene, a train barreling down a railroad track at 70+ miles per hour, and a giant 600-pound grizzly facing it down and living to tell the tale!
Even though this bear has been hit by a train and survived, he still uses the railways to lead the way through his lengthy territory: now that’s a boss!
The Boss Is Not Friendly
The gift and curse of social media is that people now know about such a ferocious and iconic predator. This doesn’t mean that Bear 122 is approachable or should be approached at any point. His haunts are quite regular and there is always the concern that tourists or other people may attempt to have a run in with him for notoriety.
The bear has been known to wander through downtown, weaving between cars and just living his life completely unaffected by the scene around him.
This is just a reminder that he isn’t a celebrity, isn’t a personality but a wild animal that you should never seek to approach.
The Boss has been around for 20 years and never had a negative encounter with a human yet. There’s no aggression on his part toward humans at all. He’s learned the way to travel through our cities and environments in a way that keeps him largely a mystery.
This is for the best. Over the years he has had a few gnarly clashes with another, slightly smaller grizzly, named Split Lip. They’ve battled for dominance, but for now, the Boss stands out on top. He’d have to, surviving this long in what he must see as enemy territory.
It truly is amazing that he has learned from his past mistakes. The tracker on him shows that he meanders along the railways and through cities, largely staying out of the way. He must be one intelligent animal to navigate our society so thoroughly.
Watch The Boss In Action
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Falade Adewale/Shutterstock.com
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.