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The best dietary competition in nature?Brown bear
Ken Cunning Partially eaten carcasses of salmon are scattered along the banks of the river, ringing downstream islands. Every second, a few salmon jump out of the water trying to jump over the waterfall. When I arrived to observe, only the giant 747 was fishing, which was clearly a very good day for hungry bears. At the peak of salmon movement, bears rarely fish alone, and the 747 will soon be joined by more experienced bears. Upon arriving on the distant shore, Otis soon lay down on the river, and water cooled his flanks. It doesn’t move for a few minutes, except to put your face under the water to casually look for fish. With hanging eyelids and a downward nodding head, Otis looks moody, so my wife and I joking that he might fall asleep in the water. Instead of taking a nap, Otis apparently has something else in his mind. He shakes off his drowsiness and slowly moves towards one of his favorite fishing spots, the Jacuzzi. An adult border when first identified in 2001, Otis became one of the oldest and most skilled bears to use the waterfall. Tall and lean, with blonde early summer fur and floppy right ears, he stands out among the spouses of an adult male in the river. Otis understands that he can’t challenge the 747 in the Jacuzzi, so he waits downstream. When the 747 moves into the woods, Otis fills the vacancy, perhaps to rest and digest his income. When he settles in the basin, he sits like a statue, facing upstream with only his head, shoulders and upper back exposed to the surface of the water. Jacuzzi can’t see the salmon in the water, but Otis isn’t trying to put himself in another position. He doesn’t need it. He knows exactly what he is doing. Otis takes action when a salmon hits his body, is confused by the stirring water, or is pushed there by another fish. His reflexes are quick and accurate. Fix the fish to the gravel or body of the river and plunge the muzzle into the water to secure the catch. The catch rate increases rapidly from 1 to 5, 10 to 15 before the 747 returns and recaptures. Seeing, inspiring and intriguing. Jacuzzi. The elder bear makes a moderate grunt, but easily succumbs. Although. Otis is seeing opportunities elsewhere. Otis catch rates will be slightly slower at this new location. Soon it will rise above 20, 25, and 30. When I leave the waterfall that night, I am in awe of the capacity of his stomach. Otis caught and ate most of the 35 salmon in about five hours. Webcam viewers continued to track his success rate after I left and observed Otis eating seven more salmon before retiring at night. In total, he ate all or most of the 42 fish. This is the most salmon I have ever seen a bear eat in a single sitting. Or there is no fish or meat on the menu. A casual list of brown bear foods in any region contains dozens of species. More comprehensive inventory will be in the hundreds. In Yellowstone, grizzly bears rob wolf of elk and bison carcasses, climb mountains to eat barren debris moths, use scent sensations to find underground truffles, and are carefully cached by rodents in the meadows. Look for seeds and break open the white bark pine cone as much as extracting fat-rich nuts, attacking underground ant colonies, wrapping larvae, and digging a spoon into a bowl of ice cream Easily protect adults in vain. Grizzly bears in the northern Rocky Mountains contain about 200 plants. 90% of the annual energy from plants. Early in the growing season, they swallow a bite of green forbaceous plants to the subalpine meadows looking for roots and tubers. At the end of summer, they suck thousands of blueberries from their stems with their most skilled bare hands, faster than human pickers. The Alaska Peninsula bear diet depends on a variety of food suites, but it is not very diverse. They eat carrion, bird eggs, birds, voles, ground squirrels, mousses, caribou, other bears, and beavers. They eat herbaceous plants such as Angelica on the coast, cow parsnip on the beach, cow parsnip, grass and sedges. Late summer is usually the berry season of lingonberries, where bear scat turns black, blue and maroon, leaving blueberries, clawberries, lingonberries, elderberries, highbush cranberries, watermelon berries and squirrels. On the shores of the park, virtually all animals are included in the menu, including sea otters, harbor seals, dead whales, clams, mussels, barnacles and beach flea. They enjoy fish, especially salmon, but their own vomit and human dung are just too taboo to turn off the menu. If bears are as widespread as humans around the globe, their dietary diversity may exceed ours. On average, salmon are the richest and most nutritious food for Katomai bears, and bears make great efforts to catch them. Most bears fishing in Brooks Falls are regulars like Otis who come back every year. However, the rarest is the arrival of a fully mature adult, who decides to stay at the waterfall, which has no previous history. Watching these bears fish waterfalls and attempt to navigate bear detectives shows how powerful motivational hunger is and how well bears can adapt to new situations. On a rainy night in mid-July 2015, a spotted fur bear is bound towards the trees and the waterfall. His muzzle is short and blocky, a large wound injures his right flank, and his body lacks most of the other adults who have been fishing here for the last three weeks. Most notably, his left ear is about half the size of his right ear. It is a bear lefty that was only seen in late summer and autumn until this day, and it is a bear that I have never seen before. Lefty’s actions that night strongly suggested that he had little experience fishing waterfalls and interacting with the gathering. Of a bear. The season was also young enough that the Brooks River was still the only place to catch fish, so Lefty arrived hungry. He dashes from place to place and is distracted by all the fish that catch his gaze. He confronts almost all bears, regardless of their position in the hierarchy. He moves to a pool far from the lips of the waterfall, where he meets an older, almost 27-year-old woman 410 and immediately steals her salmon. Motivated by success, he attempts the same move on the 856. He is not afraid of the newcomer’s growling approach. But failure does not stop his feast. He then returns near 410 and steals another salmon from Otis, then another from 410. He eats vigorously and consumes each salmon in several large chunks. But the few fish he has collected so far are hardly enough to satisfy him. He moved to his lips again, where an adult woman had finished eating her prey. He exchanges blows with her and then forces her to slide on the edge of the waterfall. Lefty has lips on herself, but he doesn’t seem to know what to do next. He knitted his head, pantomized the swirling salmon movements in the pool below, and could have caught some jumping salmon if he stood still, but he couldn’t. Looking down at the fish, he bobs his head up once or twice, jumping off the waterfall and jumping into the pool below. Although unsuccessful, it’s an old belly flop. On July 20th, I see Lefty walking towards his lips again. He puts his forefoot at the tip of the waterfall. .. .. I’m waiting patiently. Within a minute of his arrival, he was rewarded. He snaps his chin into a jumping salmon, his focused routine develops shortly after his first arrival, and only five from his constant attempts to steal fish and his desperate belly flop. A day away. Since then, Lefty has been a skilled angler with lips, despite the ongoing look of excitement and anticipation. Brooks Falls Bear Excerpt: Wildlife and Survival on the Brooks River in Alaska. Copyright © 2021 by Michael Fitz. Reproduced with the permission of Countryman Press, a division of WW Norton and Company. Allrights reserved. Find out more at The Daily Beast. Get top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now! DailyBeast Membership: Beast Inside digs deeper into the stories that matter to you. learn more.