The largest Kodiak Bears can tower up to ten feet when standing on their hind feet and weigh over 1500 pounds. With these stats, the brown bears of Kodiak Island are considered the largest bears in the world.
We were privileged this past week to spend a day watching them on the Frazer River, which flows out of Frazer Lake on the southern, uninhabited part of the island. We flew in by floatplane and then hiked for a quarter of a mile to a section of the river that had dropped several feet during Alaska’s massive 1964 earthquake. A fish ladder had been built to help the salmon over the section. The Kodiak Bears consider the area beneath the falls and ladder to be their personal fishing hole.
Our son Tony, who flies helicopters for the Coast Guard out of Kodiak, and his wife Cammie had arranged for the trip. We owe them big. It was a gorgeous day in a beautiful area and a number of bears were fishing for salmon. This is the first of three blogs I am going to do about the experience. Today I will feature moms and their cubs. Next I will focus on the bears fishing. I will finish with some fun photos of bears being bears.
Cubs are born in January or February while their mother is still hibernating in her cave. They then nurse for several months before emerging in June. They weigh approximately one pound when born. Cubs live with mom for three plus years before venturing out on their own. Bears have their first cubs around five years of age and continue to produce litters every four years or so into their twenties.
NEXT BLOG: Peggy and I watch the Kodiak Bears on the Frazer River catch enough salmon to make the most skilled fisherman jealous.