Another day of watching the brown bears fish at Brooks Falls at Katmai National Park, on the live bearcam they have set up there. As I’ve mentioned before, this bearcam is set up at the same location as a wooden platform that is physically available for visitors of the park to stand and watch the bears fish live in person. This image, taken from the Google maps photo uploads, shows exactly how close the platform is to the falls, and how close the park visitors can get to where the bears are fishing:

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The visitor’s platform at Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park

This leads me to wonder how this proximity to humans might affect the food-gathering/fishing habits of the bears here at Brooks falls. As I’ve wondered in a previous post, it’s possible that bears less comfortable with the human presence might stay in the far pool to fish, or indeed, may not come to these falls to fish at all, but might prefer other, less desirable fishing spots along the river that are less likely to be visited by humans. I’ve noticed, when the sound is working on the cameras, that the visiting humans will tend to cheer when a bear catches a fish, similar to spectators watching s sports match. This could be distracting to the bears, or intimidating to them, or affect them in some other way. Bears more comfortable with the human presence might be more likely (or more able) to fish at the spots on the falls that are closer to the visitor’s platform, namely at the lip or the jacuzzi spots. These also seem to be the spots where bears are more likely to catch fish, in my observations. I have seen more bears catch fish (or bears catch more fish) at these locations than bears at the far pool or in the space between the jacuzzi and the far pool.

Today, while watching the bears fish, I observed bears at all of these four locations. I observed both in the early afternoon, around 1:30 local time, and again later in the early evening, around 6:15 local time. Following my naming conventions, I will call these bears by the following names: Bear H, Bear I, Bear J, and Bear K (afternoon), and Bear H, Bear L, and Bear C (evening). I am almost positive that the bear in the far pool at both times is the same bear, so am referring to both as Bear H. I am also pretty sure that the bear in the jacuzzi in the evening is the same bear from my first post on Brooks falls, Bear C. Otherwise, when unable to positively determine if the bears are the same, I am erring on the side of caution and assuming difference.

Afternoon Bears: Bear H, Bear I, Bear J, & Bear K

Bear Descriptions (back to front):

  • Bear H (far pool) seems to be somewhat large, of a mostly medium brown color, possibly with a pronounced shoulder hump (hard to tell given the posture it is standing in) with a line or darker fur across the shoulder, somewhat lighter ears, and a medium snout.
  • Bear I (between jacuzzi and far pool, only visible in first photo) seems somewhat smaller than the others, of a light brown color with a slightly upturned snout, and very light colored ears. Other features are difficult to distinguish given its posture in the water and lack of additional mages.
  • Bear J (jacuzzi) seems to be a larger bear, of a medium to darker brown color, with particularly darker fur around the shoulders and heard, with dark ears. It seems to have a bit of fur in the shape of a kind of “beard” under its chin, and a somewhat square nose on a medium length snout.
  • Bear K (the lip) seems to be a somewhat larger bear, of a dark blonde color, with a medium length upturned snout. Its head and face seems to be slightly darker than the rest of the body, and the ears seem somewhat small.

While I was watching these bears (for about 20-25 minutes total), the only two bears to catch fish were the bears in the jacuzzi (Bear J) and the lip (Bear K). Bear K looked toward the human platform at one point when they cheered and made noise. Bear J caught one fish, walked off camera with it, and then came back. Bear K caught a fish toward the end (no photo of this), and also walked off camera with it.

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Bear H (far pool), Bear I (middle), and Bear J (jacuzzi) at Brooks Falls.

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Bear H (far pool), Bear J (jacuzzi), and Bear K (the lip), as Bear J catches a fish.

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Bear J walks off camera with its catch.

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Bear K looks toward the visitors platform when the humans make a cheering sound.

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Bear J returns to the jacuzzi while Bear H and Bear K continue to look for fish.

Evening Bears: Bear H, Bear L & Bear C

Bear Descriptions:

  • Bear H (far pool) seems to be the same bear from the earlier time in the far pool.
  • Bear L (between the far pool and the jacuzzi) has a somewhat triangular hear, a medium brown fur color with widely set and light-colored ears. The bear seems to have a shorter nose and may be somewhat fatter than the others, but this is difficult to tell given the bear’s position in the water.
  • Bear C (jacuzzi) seems relatively dark for this time of year, since most bears are lighter in the spring through July and become darker in the fall, with a somewhat short snout, dish-shaped head and wide-set ears. I believe this is the same bear as Bear C from my post on 7 July.

I was only able to watch these bears for about 15 minutes this evening, but during this time, the only bear I observed catching fish was Bear C in the jacuzzi. This again seems to be one of the two best spots for catching fish at the falls, along with the lip.

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