Dean M. Chriss
Grizzly Youngster, Looking for Fish,
Tongass National Forest
(Click image to enlarge)
This young grizzly bear is learning how to fish. He's still small so he stands
to get a better view of approaching salmon. The salmon here have an average
weight of 40 pounds so the little guy isn't quite up to the task. He did land
several already dead fish carcasses that were discarded by adults after eating
the most nutritious parts. Adult male grizzly bears in this part of Alaska
usually weigh 600 to 800 pounds while females weigh about 350 to 450 pounds.
This youngster might be close to 100 pounds. Mother grizzlies nurse their cubs
for up to three years.
Grizzly bears are most easily identified by the large hump of muscle above
their front shoulders. Grizzlies are known to dig more than
any other bear species, and those muscles give them the strength to do it.
Their claws, which can be 4 inches in length, also help with digging.
Grizzly bears are omnivores and their diet varies greatly with location. In
areas where fish and meat are less plentiful, over 75% of their diet can
consist of berries, leaves and nuts.