Salmon Leaps Right Into Massive Bear's Mouth
This video, taken during the summer of 2018, captures the moment when an Alaskan grizzly bear in the Katmai Park and Reserve catches a large salmon in its mouth. The bear makes the catch look easy. This big grizzly occupies one of the valuable salmon high-traffic zones, which bears fight over in order to catch and consume as many fish as possible.
So many salmon are jumping up the waterfall that the grizzly can seemingly relax until a fish jumps into the right spot where it can be easily snatched out of the air. One can only wonder at how many fish are caught, versus how many make it past the multiple grizzly bear gauntlets along these rivers.
As part of their life cycle, both Pacific and Atlantic salmon leave the ocean and swim upstream till they reach the locations where they reproduce and start anew the salmon life cycle. Scientists have revealed that salmon often return with amazing precision to the very river they were born in. This event is crucial to many creatures, including the Alaskan grizzly bear.
In some ways this event is ironic, seeing as how the salmon leave the streams and enter the ocean in order to fatten up and prepare for the run back up the rivers in order to spawn. In like manner, the bears eat the salmon in order to fatten up and prepare to hibernate through the winter.
Grizzly bears are generally solitary animals, preferring to be alone. But when the salmon run begins, they can be found in groups around the best fish catching zones in the rivers. Grizzly bears are omnivores, and eat a variety of foods in order to prepare for hibernation. Salmon play a key role in grizzly bears being able to put on large fat reserves in preparation for winter denning. This period is particularly important to pregnant mother grizzlies that will need to nurse young.
Scientists in recent years have discovered that salmon perhaps play the most important role in a grizzly bear’s diet. The trees and environment around rivers and areas where the salmon run benefit greatly from the nutrients provided by salmon, and spread by the grizzlies after eating the fish. Salmon represent a more digestible food source than most others preferred by the grizzly. Many scientists now warn that human pressures on salmon are to blame for the demise of the grizzly bear in the northwest, and this same threat transfers to the forest. Protect the fish. Protect the bears. Protect the forest. All three of these life forms are connected.