Grizzly River - Grizzly Bears Nature Documentary

Grizzly River – Grizzly Bears Nature Documentary

[Applause] first to arrive a sockeye salmon in a tributary of the McNeil called McVicker Creek they get here before most of the bears at first the welcoming committee consists of a single young and bald eagle but the others will be here soon as the tide floats the salmon upstream to their spawning grounds [Applause] when they arrived today keep stuffy to the higher ground while she makes sure that the coast is clear she knows that the big males will also be converging on the creek two years ago one of them killed her two cubs she's on her way to the best fishing spot on the creek but it's already occupied by two giant males the large dark bear on the left is Woofie he's the alpha male in the whole valley a present he's preoccupied with re-establishing his position in society after winter his victim is Creek bath we'll be seeing him again teddy watches from a distance until the time is ripe to make her move Wolfie Swagger's away using what's known as the cowboy walk emphasizing his bulk and strength teddy can now go down to the water in search of her first fish of the season the salmon are held up on their runs by Falls and Rapids in a river and these are the best places to catch them as her mother goes down to the Falls Tuffy stays timidly up on the bank where she can make a run for it if another bear suddenly turns up [Applause] already salivating at the thought of the first fish of the season teddy is almost overwhelmed by the abundance of food she hasn't caught a fish for more than six months the first fish of the season is hers although her club on the bank above is longing for a taste Teddy needs to replenish her fat reserves after the long fast of winter Tuffy looks like being disappointed other bears are arriving to interrupt her mother's fishing this is jewel and her two cubs also on the way to the falls [Applause] [Applause] teddie seems unperturbed bringing the second fish up the slope to Tuffy hurrying so that she can go back for another for herself she's noticed that jewel is there and she wants to get back to the water before jewel takes her place jool is thin and hungry after the winter she's desperate to fish but first she must make sure that her exuberant Cubs are in the right place where she can see them but that could take some time it's not long since she was a cub herself and she enjoys the rough-and-tumble there's only room here for one big bear to fish and Teddy wants to make sure that it's her not jule or anyone else Tuffy is left alone on the bank [Applause] but as Teddy enjoys herself in the clear fool her cubs gloom increases jewel and her family are coming nearer but taffy is her mother's daughter an alpha female in the making she's not about to back down one reason for Teddy's lack of concern is that jewel is very young and well aware of Teddy's high status she can be fairly confident that the younger bear won't harm taffy [Applause] when she brings up the next fish the standoff takes a turn in Tuffy's favor jewel recognizes teddy and she knows that she will not hesitate to attack if she and her family get too close jool soon has a reminder of the senior Bears power Teddy will go to any lengths to defend her youngest daughter your clacking shows how tense and stressed Teddy years but there are fish to catch and the water calls Jewell and her Cubs advance once again [Applause] toughy holds her ground but this time not a fish male bears are big trouble for females with tons when Woofie appears over the horizon Teddy goes quickly back to guard her come Wolfie is the dominant alpha male hereabouts but not because of his size at 600 kilos and nearly 3 metres tall he's not the biggest bear in the valley but he is by far the most aggressive teddie prudently leads to fade away whoopee finishes off Tuffy's fish but that's not the main reason he's here today it's the mating season and he's on the lookout for receptive females those with Cubs had better keep out of the way males sometimes kill and eat Cubs Wolfie might be tough his father but that wouldn't stop him from making a meal of her if the opportunity arose jool and her cubs finally get the chance to go fishing the cool water on a warm day with salmon pentacle makes the long wait worth while [Applause] another male Larry has arrived at the river in search of a mate he's in his twenties about five years older than Wolfie but much less aggressive nevertheless he's a daunting presence for any mother with Cubs when he arrives jewel and her cubs leave the pool Larry is hungry too the females can wait while he gets himself something to eat [Applause] jool takes her cubs to a safer place away from the forthcoming violence of the breeding season while larry feeds quietly in the street for the next few days the Falls will be no place for females with young so they take their cubs further downstream in search of other food other animals to wait for their moment to fish the mothers will keep to the higher ground well above the banks of the creek out of the way of marauding males mikvah Creek offers plenty of sheltered spots where Teddy can suckle taffy in peace toughy is still only 16 months old and her diet still contains a large proportion of mother's milk all the Bears with Cubs move along this path high on the ridge above the river a couple of days later cutsie arrives with her two cubs she's probably one of Teddy's daughters about eight years old and this is her first litter but Teddy and Tuffy are in the way and the cliff stands between curtsy and her Cubs and the water there's no easy way down while Tuffy and her mother blocked the route and it's a very long way down curtsey and her family will have to run the gauntlet of Tuffy's possessiveness Tuffy is clearly her mother's daughter an alpha female in the making she's not going to make things easy for curtsy and her cubs the first thing to do is to get Tuffy out of the way but she went back down when the time comes Tuffy will inherit her mother's mantle as senior female in the valley for now she needs a little support from her mother to keep cutsie and her cubs away so there's nothing for it but to try the climb it's easy enough for cutsie but very dangerous for the Cubs she is immensely strong and her claws give her a good grip on the loose and stone but the Cubs lack her strength and experience Cubs have died on this cliff in the past [Applause] but they make it safely to the ground much against Tuffy's will in her agitation Tuffy nearly succeeds where the cliff failed in maiming her cousins with an accidental bombardment now that they're on the lower ground cutsie and her cubs must keep a sharp lookout for dangerous male bears but the terrain is more open here and they should be able to see them coming from some way away creak bear has come back he's a big senior male about 15 years old he was given his name because he arrives early every year at mikvah Creek to take the chance of mating before whoof he gets there he checks the droppings of a young female he's met on the shore she is ready to mate there are few preliminaries in grizzly bear courtship the female is just as anxious as the male to start a new generation mating can take as long as an hour if the Bears are undisturbed but another bear arrives on the scene disrupting creeks bears plans as the first female moves away out of range he sizes up the newcomer rolling towards the challenge with the cowboy walk he discovers that the intruder is another female also ready to mate curtsy and her cubs move further away in case of trouble and there is trouble on the way even while creek bear is mating could see and her cubs seed Larry coming over the hill once again creek bear has been disturbed in the act of mating he is none too pleased Larry has the scent of the females strong in his nostrils in spite of creek bears looming presence Larry feels a powerful urge to mate Larry and Creek bear have known each other for many years theirs is an ongoing rivalry even though Creek bear is younger and stronger as well as bigger than him Larry is not backing down now as his rival Swagger's up to him Larry has decided to stand his ground neither there really wants to fight the risks of injury are too great but one of them has to end up boss fair and Larry's mating urge is too strong to let him retreat the fight when it comes is very short just long enough to remind Larry how strong creep barriers after a little more huffing and puffing it's over as the audience moves away creak bear goes back to follow the females they'll be receptive for only a week or so this season and he wants to take every chance he can to mate with them meanwhile cutsie leads her cubs to the grass flats where she will introduce them to a new source of food grass might seem out of character for these huge carnivores but it's a very valuable food especially when the fish run is not as good as usual it's high in protein and it's good for the digestion through the spring and summer sedge grass is a staple food for the Grizzlies the grass flats along the lower river provide a plentiful supply after her busy and stressful morning cuts he leads her cubs away for a rest cutsies cubs are 18 months old like Tuffy and they still depend on their mother for milk which makes up most of their diet by now it's early July time for the most important event of the year at McNeil River this is why these great carnivores gather here forming the greatest concentration of brown bears in the world the snow has melted from the mountains watering windswept meadows of grasses and flowers all in full bloom [Applause] idling comfortably in the water the Bears are waiting for the second salmon run when the great chum salmon come in from the sea chum salmon usually arrive in huge shows numbered in tens of thousands this year for some reason the run is late and slow to start but there are still fish to be caught salmon are the reason that the brown bears here are among the biggest in the world they supply not only protein to allow the Bears to grow to a huge size but also abundant fat to build up their reserves for the winter when the fish arrive the Bears are ready [Applause] among them are teddy and Tuffy teddy leads her daughter down from the safety of the clifftop to a very dangerous place for a mother bear with a cub a place where more than a hundred other bears will gather the falls on the McNeil River Teddy knows the dangers but she also knows that she has special standing in this society as the alpha female in the valley with luck her reputation for aggression will protect Tuffy from the worst excesses of the violence that is about to begin Grizzlies come to the McNeil River from miles around to share in the salmon harvest the river is a mainstay in their lives swollen with meltwater it provides a highway for the salmon and thus a larder for the band's early in the season big males dominate the sea and sometimes the river dominates the Bears but 350 kilos are bad is not easily daunted by a ducky for the chum salmon this is the climax of their life after they've spawned they will die resting behind rocks from the strength of the main current they emerge to force their way upstream powering their way up the Falls driven by an ancient instinct to the spawning grounds the Bears have only to wait for them the best fishing spots are held by the biggest and most aggressive males sterling is the biggest bear on the whole river holding a good place by virtue of his sheer size Wolfie is not so big but what he lacks in bulk he makes up for in ferocity he rarely catches his own fish he relies on the power of his personality to supply him with food in other words he's a professional full time thief benefiting from the efforts of others he simply knows that any fish caught here belongs to him he's prepared to fight for it and has the scars to prove it most other bears simply give him their catch and go out to find more he's been getting away with it for years [Applause] although the salmon run is not good there are some fish to be caught for bears who can hold their own in the fight for ownership of the best fishing sites but those bears forced to died in open water the pickings are not quite so good [Applause] with all the best spots held by the biggest males a female has little chance of finding food here unless she's a very special bear teddy is a very special bear [Applause] she's been coming here for everyone at her 21 years her mother brought her here as a baby she knows the place well and she knows how to look after herself with so many hungry male there's about it's a very dangerous place for a small cup Teddy must find a balance between her hunger and the need to protect taffy from danger where the big males are fighting over the fish she will keep well away toughy watches the violence from close beside her mother standing the giant is once more robbed by Whoopie scraps are breaking out all over the river it's not all about food there are important matters of status to be decided the fights over Salmons serve to maintain the order of dominance among the big mouths all this conflict may cause life-threatening injuries or crippling wounds most of the males their old scars that's why many of them are easier to recognize than females [Applause] the safest course of action once a bear has caught a fish is to get out of the water and away to a secluded place where he can eat it alone [Applause] young bears come to the falls too but without any chance of feeding here this is a third year there in its first summer alone in the world this may well be Tuffy's position next year but for now Tuffy is with her mother and in a very privileged position as soon as the chance arises Teddy will hurry down to the water this is one of the worst positions of the Falls all the others are taken back males but Teddy is very good at fishing she's the only female with a cub to fish here weeks later when the males have eaten their fill anyone will be able to come but for now Teddy the alpha female is the only one that dares fish among the belligerent males toughy is very uneasy she can't go too far from her mother but her mother is in the river with all the fierce big bears a male catching a fish and leaving the water himself in fear is enough to send Tuffy scrambling up the bank teddie has to follow her and bring her back to where she can keep an eye on her and keep her out of harm's way as the week's go by there's an uneasy air of the Falls this year and all the Bears are nervous the salmon Raul hasn't happened the fights are no longer over fish but over places from which fish might be caught suddenly Teddy notices something in the water fish at last finally the school of chum salmon has found its way up to the Falls by now teddy is desperate to catch a fish she could eat 15 a day easily but she's been here for hours without catching one Tuffy's yawn shows how stressed cheers by the presence of the other bears a 15 year old male called white Claus is watching Teddy closely he has already been in a fight with another male and now he's looking for a chance to steal food perhaps from her the claws that gave him his name are fearsome weapons and the fresh wounds from the fight won't be helping his mood [Applause] as Teddy fishes she must keep a close watch on white claws he obviously means her no good [Applause] and now there's more trouble approaching earth wants to move in on Teddy's fishing spot [Applause] he's an old male and he's probably known her all her life he should know she's the alpha female but in case he's forgotten she reminds him [Applause] but white Claus is younger and less easily intimidated he's also much bigger than teddy when she finally catches a fish he's ready to close in [Applause] the dropped salmon drifts off downstream with white clothes in dogged pursuit [Applause] while white Claus is preoccupied teddy catches another fish this time she runs off up the hill with it looking for Tuffy but the cub can see what her mother can't white floors is on her tail when Teddy sees him she bolts the fish as the younger bear comes up the hill after her when he gets there he's too late but Tuffy still hasn't eaten teddy goes to the river one more time she is nothing if not tenacious [Applause] toughy is very hungry by now she watches her mother closely what she learns now will stand her in good stead in summers to come this time next year she will have to find her own food [Applause] is this third time lucky perhaps Teddy will be able to share this fish with her hungry daughter without being disturbed [Applause] this time Tuffy leads her mother up the hill with luck no male will follow normally by this time of year McNeil Falls is open to all comers including mothers and their young a mother like Raleigh with three first-year Cubs would come here to catch fish from the last of the run once the males were all well-fed and relaxed but not this year this year the shortage of food has left the males hungry and argumentative right to the end Raleigh takes her cubs back downriver [Applause] below the falls females with Cubs are much safer [Applause] the food isn't so good but there is plenty to be had there are scraps of fish from kills higher up and the exhausted chum salmon are spawning at the end of their life's journey their muscles are breaking down now and they spend the last of their energy laying eggs in the gravel they will protect them with the last of their strength until they die a second year cut the same age as Tuffy chases the dying salmon the fish now have only days to live their life's work done [Applause] this is the best time for a cub to learn how to catch salmon when the fish are tired and slow and the cub is away from the pressures of the aggressive males [Applause] [Applause] the cub has caught a salmon head not exactly a triumph of the fisherman's art but a significant meal for a young bear however she still relies on her mother for most of her food her mother is called mouse like teddy she's fished this river every year since she was born about 17 years ago her cub watches intently as her mother picks up another meal for them to share here away from the tensions of the Falls Cubs can play in safety learning the skills they will need later and sharing the food with their mothers Raleigh and her Cubs are at ease here feeding on the spawned out salmon they need all the energy they can collect knowledge because the season or as it was is coming to an end [Applause] it's now late August autumn on the Alaska Peninsula the grass and flowers have gone to seed and there's a chill in the air that speaks of the coming winter the sedge grass has been grazed to the ground and what little remains lacks the proteins that were so important to the Bears earlier in the season their droppings recycle the nutrients back into the ground for next year on a dreary morning at the end of a disappointing season there's a strong sense that time is running out most of the Bears have left McNeil Falls in the search for better fishing elsewhere before it's too late there are still a few males hanging on dominating the best fishing spots but they're not catching much Tuffy tries her hand of fishing but there aren't enough fish about for her to get any worthwhile practice [Applause] all the same she's privileged to have the chance Teddy's presence on the bank keeps her cubs safe among the big males who would otherwise attack her all the same it's difficult for the cub to concentrate while male bears constantly keep up the pressure on her and her mother [Applause] the to keep close together in the face of the threat of aggression Wolfie is still here actually fishing for himself now that there are few bears left to steal from Larry has hung on to to practice his own style of submarine fishing [Applause] when wolfy sees that he has been successful he moves in for the umpteenth time this summer and casually relieves Larry of the remains of his meal in spite of his scars Wolfie is in very good condition being alpha male has its advantages when food is in short supply but as the years go by Whoopi will inevitably begin to fail sooner rather than later one of the other males will take over his position as alpha male meanwhile Teddy and Tuffy are still fishing most of the males have left now and their patience is rewarded by the chance to gather a little more food before the onset of winter and this time of year every mouthful is vital both mother and daughter need to put on as much weight as they can before they hibernate [Applause] we're usually they would pick out the best morsels from a fish now they eat the whole thing fins and all [Applause] even tiny scraps from between their floors cannot be allowed to go to waste as it turns out this will be their last meal at McNiel this season oh the cantankerous old fish stealer is still here although she beat him off earlier in the season teddy has no wish for any further confrontations this time he's content to clear up the place where the two of them were feeding but Teddy knows that he won't go away he'll be on hand when she catches her next fish if there is a next one and the pressure will be unrelenting it's time to leave Duffy and her mother will wander to another river in search of more spawned out salmon and finish their autumns feeding on berries in the Hills before they hibernate to wait for the spring the feeding at McNeil River is well and truly over next year teddy and Tuffy will no longer be mother and daughter taffy will be alone in the world just another defenseless third year cub there will be nothing Teddy can do to protect her the McNeil River will look very different than when they wake up Tuffy's place in society will be very different without Teddy to defend her the young bear will need all her toughness to survive it was a strange summer this year but the next will be stranger still for the little alpha female in Waiting handling back over the hills with her mother into an unknown future

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35 thoughts on “Grizzly River – Grizzly Bears Nature Documentary

  1. Teddy is such a good mother, I wish she would let me give Tuffy a big Bear Hug, she is so CUTE. Awwwhh Little Tuffy, you had a good mother, you will survive next year, I know you will.

  2. I am from Russia, I build wooden houses. I have my own bear. He walks around the construction site and entertains us. But when he's hungry, he's ANGRY. He loves us, but he's about a ton. Such work in nature.
    Here in Karelia, people often meet bears when picking mushrooms and berries. The bears are dangerous after sleep, or next to the cubs. Need not fear them, and be stronger, then they are afraid to attack. You have to show yourself in charge and be stronger than the bear or he'll eat you

  3. Woofy- The KANG! 👑
    Teddy- The Queen!
    Tuffy- Lil Princess!
    Jewel- Just another female
    Larry- That one guy…
    Creek Bear- The dude that is forbidden to successfully start a fam.
    White Claws- The daredevil
    Sterling- The big beast
    Kutzy- The side-piece

    The salmon- Dinner.


  4. poor Creek bear, only gets laid for a week a year, Larry never even got any. Mom has to put up with it all, tough to be a bear

  5. These bears should not be named "Teddy and Woofy" Those are names for Maltese terriers. They need names which reflect their personalities.
    Boudicca and Ares spring to mind.

  6. Such beautiful creatures. Horrendous that the males are so awful(killing cubs then mating an all…)
    But they really are majestic creatures.
    Toughie lives up to her name, thats 4 sure. Not backing down, even to a big mama.

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