Three grizzly cubs go over the falls as mom watches in horror (they’re okay, though)

Here’s a cool video from Katmai National Park in Alaska, showing a mother bear fishing at Brooks Falls. (Bears catching salmon at waterfalls is one of my favorite sights in nature.) It’s labeled “2016 08 06 01 06 29 approx 10 15 PM ADT All 3 Grazer coys go over the falls”. “Coy” is an abbreviation for “cubs of the year”—the last season’s newborns; and “Grazer” is the name of the Mama Bear.

So, all three of Grazer’s coys tumble over the falls, fortunately without harm, and you can see how concerned Grazer is about her offspring (kin selection!). I wonder how the whole litter fell into the water.

Be sure to watch the whole thing or you’ll miss the heartwarming parts.

There are six webcams (most showing bears) at Katmai National Park; you can access them all on this page. The Brooks Falls cam, which shows the bears fishing, is deservedly the most popular.

h/t: Michael


  1. John Conoboy
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Brooks camp at Katmai is a definite bucket list place. There are package deals from Anchorage that include flights and up to 3 nights in the lodge. There are cheaper places to see bears eat salmon. A few years ago, my wife and I drove to Hyder, Alaska, which you can get to by driving across central British Columbia. Just north of Hyder the US Forest Service has an elevated boardwalk over a river where you can watch bears fish. There are only a few bears in the area but it was worth the effort to visit. Best times are in July and September.

    • bluemaas
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      First thing off of the pontoon plane in from King Salmon and onto the shoreline just off of Brooks Lodge which I had had to do (July y1997) is attend Bear – Watching School. Mandatory.

      Grizzlies, all of them, preclude — always — anywhere and everywhere including humans’ suppertime venue back at the ranch, the passages and the pilgrimages of humans: IF one or more Ursus arctos is between you and your noms, then you, Human, you wait.

      Including TO the point that you may altogether miss out upon the last served – up meal of the Lodge’s day !

      “Wondering how the whole litter fell in to the water,” The Three o’‘Em, likely all “watched in (anthropomorphological) horror” as Mama Bear got to go in and was having all of The Fun … … so’s they all up and decided to try their paws at sampling the family’s fishy porridges, too !

      But, well, their not being nearly as of the heft as she … … The Three Coys got themselves pwned by Brooks Falls !

      Darling sight for one’s eyeballs’ gaze this whole deal certainly so is.


  2. Posted August 22, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Is the biggest danger drowning or getting swept too close to the next adult bear that you can see feeding downstream?

    • jahigginbotham
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Other bear i assume. I have been watching this for a few weeks. The mother is always keeping an eye on the cubs and running over even when they are on land or the shallows so it has to be more than a drowning fear. I usually only see them late in the day.

      • Dee
        Posted August 22, 2016 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        I also have been watching the Katmai bear cams for a while. I like watching the bears (it’s fun to watch the splash when they face plant into the water), but I found watching the salmon jump up the falls to be mesmerizing. The run has really slowed down now, so I hardly ever seen any salmon when I check the site, but while it was thick and heavy, you could watch dozens of them jumping and wriggling. It was cool.

  3. W.Benson
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Is parent to offspring altruism formally placed under ‘kin selection’? I was under the impression that parental care, behavior directly favoring gene copies in offspring, has traditionally been viewed as natural selection. I know, hair-splitting again.

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Nobody makes a distinction between natural selection and kin selection any more: kin selection is just a form of natural selection. And, formally, yes, parental care can be seen as kin selection,since you could be sacrificing your fitness to achieve a greater net fitness through helping your offspring. To me, it makes no sense to differentiate between taking care of your kids or taking care of your brother’s kids (discounted, of course, by the degree of relatedness).

      • W.Benson
        Posted August 23, 2016 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

        Jerry. I agree that all forms of selection in nature are natural selection, including sexual selection. Darwin, however, distinguished between the two because sexual selection did not produce ecological adaptations, design features religious people attributed to god(s). Darwin’s biology explained the evolution of both adaptation and ornament. Similarly, individual features that enhance personal fitness may be attributed to individual selection (Darwin’s natural selection, in the strict sense, the way I was using the term in my comment above), and individual features that enhance the fitness of relatives, but not the reproductive advantage of the individual, to kin selection. Since progeny is the measure of individual reproductive success and parental care acts directly to increase progeny, it only complicates things to confound reproductive activities, including parental care, with the phenomena of altruism and kin selection. I think this view (and I hope I expressed myself well) is similar to that of most biology, evolution and behavioral ecolgy texts.

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    You can just hear the mother – I can’t even take you kids fishing…

    • Mobius
      Posted August 23, 2016 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      I can just hear the cubs saying, “That was FUN! Let’s do it again.”

  5. Posted August 22, 2016 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    I like the gulls just chilling out and watching the drama. :p

  6. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    The third cub looks like it was attracted by the noise between mother bear and the first two cubs … follows Mum’s “come here you %^$£&*$ tykes!” noises and falls into exactly the same trap as numbers 1 and 2.
    The trap : frictional force ≤= normal-contact-force × coefficient for the surfaces involved ; if the rocks and the bear’s paws are comparable (big if), then the maximum frictional force will be lower for the lighter bear. Annnnnnd – there’s the smaller bear being swept away.
    Which is why, when you you’re doing a river crossing, you send the light person across first, with the safety rope anchored by the heaviest guy. Watched that one being got wrong several times though binoculars.
    The third bear going in reminds me of one of the stock lectures I have to give at work whenever we’re doing refresher courses about working with poison gas or doing confined-space entry (or when being the safety officer’s “straight man” for the same – it’s a practised routine). “Every time we run this course, we go to check the recent news for three or more fatalities caused by people ‘going to help’ without having a thought-through rescue plan. There’s always a recent case.” And here’s this month’s example. Don’t worry, next month there will be a new example. (If it’s on a farm, it’ll be a family tragedy. SIGH.)

  7. Frank Bath
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    What I thought was how sensible of mother to let her cubs learn where she could save them if necessary.

  8. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    That was fun! Let’s do it again, mom!!

  9. Posted August 23, 2016 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Have always been interested in Grizzlies since I saw the Werner Herzog documentary “Grizzly Man.”

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