Mother bear saves hapless cubs at Brooks Falls

I hope you’ve been watching the brown bears catching salmon at Brooks Falls, Alaska: the animal cam there is one of the best I’ve seen.  It’s early morning there now, but it stays light till 11 p.m. and even British viewers can watch after work.

What’s struck me is that the bears seem very lazy: they sit in the water and basically wait for a salmon to jump into their mouths, or appear at their feet, while ignoring the salmon that leap in the air all around them. Perhaps they’ve gorged so much that they don’t have the energy to move to catch a fish.

At any rate, the bear cam recently took a really nice video of a mother bear protecting her cubs.  A mother and her three cubs were on the bank, and two of them tumbled into the water. The concerned mom, seeing another bear approach, immediately leapt into the river to scare off the intruder and save her cubs. (I didn’t know that there could be litters of three). You can watch the film here, and I’ll give a screenshot.

You can see one cub at the mother’s feet and the other tumbling down the falls. The third is still on the bank. The interloper bear is at lower right:

Picture 1


  1. Geoff
    Posted July 19, 2013 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    It first looks like the other bear is coming to help – obviously the mother didn’t think so!

    • gbjames
      Posted July 19, 2013 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      coming to help

      He was going to help himself to breakfast.

  2. gbjames
    Posted July 19, 2013 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Very cool.

  3. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 19, 2013 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Awesome! Those baby bears are so cute too! I keep missing the real action on the cam. The only somewhat cool thing I saw was a fish literally jump into the mouth of one bear that was standing at the top of the waterfall!

    • Posted July 19, 2013 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      How very obliging of the noms to serve itself! It must have been a Doug Adams fan.


      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 19, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        Indeed – meet the meat!

  4. Stephen Barnard
    Posted July 19, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    I’d like to see “mama grizzly” Sarah Palin try that.

  5. bacopa
    Posted July 19, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Bears can gorge on so much salmon that they sometimes eat only the brain, fat, roe, and testicles. QWhen you have plenty of food and are trying to store up fat for the winter it makes sense eat just the parts that are highest in fat and vitamins.

    Back when my cat was spry enough to catch white wing doves she used to eat the brain and liver and leave the rest for later. Of course I disposed of the prey before she could eat the rest of it.

    But why the hell are there so many whitewings these days? Why do bananas fruit as far inland as Hempstead? Why do hobby citrus farmers never lose their crops? Why are whistling ducks now common as far west as Austin? Why has the purple house finch not been seen in twenty winters?

    Global warming is real.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 19, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      I notice that with the bears too – they don’t eat the whole fish & just go back to get more fish! Pew, I bet it is stinky & there are lots of flies where they drag the salmon onto land.

  6. marksolock
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Mark Solock Blog.

  7. Posted July 22, 2013 at 2:00 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on yasarnorman.

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