At Earther, we stan the bears. Bears are good, especially when they are fat. They are the hero we all need. That’s why I’m excited to announce that Alaska’s Katmai National Park has set up its live bear cams for the summer. You know what that means: bears, bears, and more bears.
The park established these cams back in 2012, firing them up each summer right around the salmon runs when bears in the park come out to chow. This is a real treat during these dark days. We all could use a little joy. Seriously. Thankfully, the bears are here to supply it.
Bald eagles, gulls, and even wolves sometimes go in search of the salmon, too, and they may sometimes pop up in the cameras. Really, though, everyone comes for the bears. Katmai’s brown bears spend summer preparing for winter hibernation, so they have one goal in mind: Eat all the salmon. The brown bears can eat up to 40 salmon a day. Right now, the bears may appear a little thin because many have only come out of hibernation in recent months. But that will change over the summer as bear activity picks up.
You can’t always catch a bear in action, but when you do, boy, it sure is something. They typically walk down a mile-stretch of the Brooks River in search of food. But the falls are a popular location for them to eat because fishing is much easier as salmon leap and try to clear the falls. On Monday, a bear was having some breakfast at Brooks Falls. The bear I saw on Monday was munching hard, presumably on some fish. Homie was having a great time by his lonesome. Down on the lower end of the river, a mama bear was out and about with her two cubs, one of which seemed to be having a lot of fun running about.
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More bears will come in late June and July when the sockeye salmon really begin to migrate. July and September offer some of the best viewing experiences, according to Explore.org, which hosts the videos. Sometimes, there’s a crew of bears feasting on salmon all at once. Other times, you might see a pair in an intimate moment. These are the special moments caught on bear cam that true enthusiasts live for.
“It is a great time to watch the greatest show on the internet,” Explore.org resident naturalist Mike Fitz said in an online comment.
Katmai National Park is the perfect place for these bears to spend their months preparing for hibernation. Relatively far from people and human influences, the bears can thrive here. The park estimates that around 2,200 brown bears call its 4 million acres home. It’s a premier destination for in-person bear watching, which is apparently a thing. No thanks for me, though. I’m good. Watching the bear cam is all the bear viewing I’ll ever need.