Tag Archive: mating


Thus far in my field observations I haven’t been able to observe personally any kind of mating behavior via the live webcams available at the Katmai National Park. However, Explore.org, the group responsible for hosting the live cameras, also provides a handful of highlight videos from this year and past years, which allows viewers to see footage of different activities they are less likely to stumble upon via the live feeds. I found one such video, a highlight video entitled “Bear 856 Pursues Female Bear 410 at Brooks Falls, Alaska”, which provided a small glimpse of some of the brown bear mating behavior . It’s a relatively short clip, less than two minutes in length, and shows the male bear 856 following female bear 410 as she walks around Brooks Falls. He walks into the frame from the right side, she makes her way toward the far bank, and begins to move more quickly downstream, almost running. He pursues her back upstream, around the small sandbar, back to the fall pool, up over the falls, toward the foreground and along the lip, before the clip ends. Their pace is never very fast, although at times she seems to scramble a bit and pick up her pace.

More on brown bear mating behavior to come…

images

A female brown bear with three cubs.

The live webcams at Katmai National Park are down right now, and I haven’t been able to successfully conduct any life
field observation as a result, so instead I’m adding a brief post on one of the aspects of sexual selection, mating, and raising offspring in brown bears: Sexually Selected Infanticide (SSI). It’s one of the most interesting, and, from a human emotional point of view, can be somewhat sad and shocking aspects of bear behavior, and one that is sometimes difficult to understand, yet an important one.

The Katmai National Park website addresses the issue of infanticide in their brown bear FAQs, noting that the practice is not completely understood, that there may be many reasons for the practice, and reminding readers that bear behavior does not necessarily conform to human moral and ethical boundaries. Here is an excerpt from their coverage of the topic:

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 2.49.55 PM

There have been some studies on this topic, most notably and recently by theĀ Scandinavian Brown Bear Research Project and Telemark University College, Norway. Most of the studies focus on the killing of bear cubs by adult males as sexually selected infanticide, rather than attributing the killings to other reasons. Here I will provide an overview of mating strategies of the brown bears, as well as the strategies and counterstrategies involved in SSI.

Continue reading