Whales and bears are not two animals that you would normally expect to encounter each other very often but that is what we see in this fascinating footage. Nearly two million have watched this absorbing video that was shot in Katmai National Park in Alaska which is an important habitat for salmon and thousands of brown bears. In this stunning location, we see a fight breaking out over a whale carcass!
Bears Go Fishing
The Alaskan brown bears in the Katmai National Park have a plentiful supply of salmon to eat and many bears are adept at fishing. However, they also eat a lot of other foods and have a varied diet. Brown bears are considered one of the most omnivorous animals on earth and will eat almost anything. That includes grass, fruit and flowers, small mammals such as squirrels, and injured animals that they come across including baby deer. They are also very happy to eat carrion and a huge whale carcass on the shoreline would be too much for them to resist! It would provide them with a lot of meat at the water’s edge without them having to go to the effort of fishing for themselves.
To look for fish, bears will usually search in shallow pools where salmon are resting. They can also be seen standing in river currents and pouncing on fish as they are swimming or waiting on shores and scooping up fish that are thrown sideways by strong currents.
Fighting Over a Dead Whale
There is plenty of meat to go around in this large carcass, but things turn pretty nasty. At the start, two large male brown bears are strutting around and trying to act like the dominant male on the shore. Meanwhile, a few cubs happily feed on the whale as well as a sow (female) and her single yearling cub.
Tensions start to rise when a male approaches with a side-stepping walk that signifies that he thinks that he is in charge and this clearly irritates the sow. The cub runs away but she decides to take him on and seems to be holding her own. But then, helps arrives!
Another male rushes in and attacks the first male. It turns into a classic bear wrestling match as they try to sweep each other’s legs away to knock each other off balance. There is a lot of growling and in-your-face aggression. Body language is super important in bear communication – body posture and movement are a big part of this. Eventually, the dejected loser slopes off into the forest. At the end of the vid is a superb replay in slow motion so that we can truly appreciate the fighting moves of these two magnificent creatures.
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