What a joy and a privilege it is to watch the brown bears feed and cavort in the salt marshes during the spring in Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Our time there was too short, I’m planning to return when my schedule allows. One of our best experiences was watching a sow and her two spring cubs feed and play, the babies did not have a care in the world because the mother kept careful watch over her youthful progeny.
Several sows in heat lured the boars who paraded up and down the marshes and chased the females through the grounds of the lodge at night, these two are the youngest in the group the sow is about five years old and ready to carry her first litter. Observing wild animals in their own habitat is a luxury, we kept a respectful distance and did not disturb their behavior. Never did we follow or pursue a bear, we simply waited quietly. In this area humans are the dominate species and when moving about we stayed in group to appear larger. If a bear became too curious, the simple act of raising up our arms with a stern command was enough to deter the approach. I’m still in awe and thankful for the opportunity to experience these amazing, powerful, huge animals.
Gail Niebrugge, Alaska wildlife artist