Monday, August 16, 2010

Grizzly Sow with Cubs

Katmai National Park, Alaska

Camping five days at Brooks Falls provided some great photo opportunities, but I think Thursday was the best day of all.  We had seen a sow with four cubs on the beach Wednesday morning, but not in time to try to get in position for photos.  Since my main photo goal on this trip was bear cubs, I was determined to be on the beach again early Thursday to look for them.  We headed to the beach first thing the next morning before going up to the falls, and sure enough she was there again with her 4 cubs. 

Seeing a sow with 4 cubs is a pretty amazing sight by itself because usually they have just 2 or 3.  Having the opportunity to photograph them was like a dream.  The sun was not yet popping through the cloudy sky at 6:45am, so I was forced to use make some compromises on camera settings.  I was fortunate to still get sharp photos.  

We watched as the mother left the cubs to look for fish in the lake, always keeping an eye on them to guard them from any danger.  At one point another bear approached, and in the top photo above it is this other bear that the cubs are watching.   Bears have been known to attack and kill cubs if the mother leaves them unprotected.  I believe this particular bear was quite capable of protecting her new family, and when she stood on her hind feet, she showed us just how big she is. 


The cubs are really cute as they play around and discover more and more of the world around them, and they are a joy to watch.

Dancing Bears?

It was really entertaining watching the cubs stand on their hind feet to get a better look at their surroundings.    They look like they are dancing.  

The next post will explore grizzly bears catching salmon in the falls. 


  1. As cute as the cubs appear, the potential danger for their observers with photo gear is greatly appreciated.

  2. Wow I guess you reached your objectives. These are sumptuous capture Tim, all more beautiful than the others! Splendid post. Thanks for sharing this unique experience of yours!

  3. Such a fabulous adventure and to capture so many awesome moments in the little ones lives is incredible. Thanks for taking me for a walk on the shore to see a splendid occurance...4 babies is unusual.

  4. Awesome! Thanks so much for posting!

  5. These pictures are great! I love how they tell a story. Now I have lots of "bear" questions about what I'm seeing in your images but I'll try to answer them myself by doing a little research online first, before I ask you...can't wait to see the pictures of the bears catching the salmon in the falls! Thanks

  6. Those dancing cubs are an outstanding capture.

  7. A extraordinary magical wildlife encounter. Thanks for sharing Tim.

  8. excelente!!
    A do espelho está magnifica!

  9. Hi dear! Great and gourgeou sequency!!