Bears at McNeil River

BEARS AT MCNEIL RIVERmusic; ambience: waterfallThis time of year at the McNeil River in Alaska, it’s nature’s version of an all-you-can-eat buffet. The entree is fish, and the customers are hordes of grizzly bears. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. “McNeil is not unique in that has a salmon run, and salmon runs all over Alaska attract bears. It is unique in that the configuration of the river makes those fish vulnerable to bears.”Larry Aumiller is the Manager of the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary. He tells us that every summer, the McNeil’s choked with salmon on their spawning run, and dozens of bears are waiting for them.”There’s a stretch of falls, really, where fish are fighting their way up white water. And while the fish are doing that, bears have real easy access to them. Of course the bears have learned that.”And so every summer, bears come from as far as 70 miles to gorge themselves on salmon. When they arrive, they probably wish they had shown up a little earlier, because the area around the falls is clogged with more grizzlies than there are places to fish.”Typically we’ll see 30, 40, 50, even 60 bears at one time. And of course there’s some bears you don’t see, and some bears you can’t recognize as individuals. And so adding those in, there are easily 100, could be 120 bears, within half a mile.””These bears do have a sort of personal space, and as they bump into each other, they have to adjust in one way or another. Sometimes just the less dominant bear will move away, and sometimes sort of equally dominant bears will actually get into a fight. It’s a kaleidoscope of activity, bears all around you, moving, fighting, eating, continually coming and going as they catch fish, and they’re doing this sort of dance with each other. It’s truly one of the world’s wildlife spectacles.”I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Bears at McNeil River

Over a hundred brown bears in Alaska have learned that every July, the McNeil River is THE place to catch fish.
Air Date:07/23/2021
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Transcript:

BEARS AT MCNEIL RIVERmusic; ambience: waterfallThis time of year at the McNeil River in Alaska, it's nature's version of an all-you-can-eat buffet. The entree is fish, and the customers are hordes of grizzly bears. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. "McNeil is not unique in that has a salmon run, and salmon runs all over Alaska attract bears. It is unique in that the configuration of the river makes those fish vulnerable to bears."Larry Aumiller is the Manager of the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary. He tells us that every summer, the McNeil's choked with salmon on their spawning run, and dozens of bears are waiting for them."There's a stretch of falls, really, where fish are fighting their way up white water. And while the fish are doing that, bears have real easy access to them. Of course the bears have learned that."And so every summer, bears come from as far as 70 miles to gorge themselves on salmon. When they arrive, they probably wish they had shown up a little earlier, because the area around the falls is clogged with more grizzlies than there are places to fish."Typically we'll see 30, 40, 50, even 60 bears at one time. And of course there's some bears you don't see, and some bears you can't recognize as individuals. And so adding those in, there are easily 100, could be 120 bears, within half a mile.""These bears do have a sort of personal space, and as they bump into each other, they have to adjust in one way or another. Sometimes just the less dominant bear will move away, and sometimes sort of equally dominant bears will actually get into a fight. It's a kaleidoscope of activity, bears all around you, moving, fighting, eating, continually coming and going as they catch fish, and they're doing this sort of dance with each other. It's truly one of the world's wildlife spectacles."I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.