Even though summer has arrived in the Alaska Peninsula, the rivers are still freezing cold. And it’s here in these chilly waters that grizzly bears converge annually to fish for spawning salmon.
Unimak – the largest of the Aleutian islands – is home to the second largest land omnivore on the planet, the coastal brown bear. Known to many as the legendary grizzly, these massive animals are normally a solitary species. But each summer they are drawn to this area for their share of fatty fish.
Chum salmon (also called dog salmon) are a silvery fish species that swim and jump upriver from the Gulf of Alaska to spawn in tranquil headwaters. And the fish that survive this race upstream will lay more than 2400 eggs after their arrival. Grizzly bears are skilled hunters and try various fishing techniques to catch these jumping salmon, including squashing the fish against rocks.
These giant bears have no natural enemies and can live up to twenty-five years. They have poor eyesight and can be potentially dangerous to humans, especially if they are caught by surprise or with bear cubs.
Join filmmaker Andreas Kieling as he observes grizzly bears fishing for salmon in these infamous waters in World’s Wildest Encounters: Alaskan Grizzlies on Tuesday August 10 10P et/pt.