Bear cubs in Alaska

bear cubs in Alaska's Katmai Park

Grizzly cub “Denali” with his sister “Sitka” waiting patiently while their mother fishes for salmon.  During the summer of 2008 the Katmai coast exploded with baby bear cubs.  I counted at least 24 first year cubs in one bay on the coast. 

The following summer we were quite shocked that there were zero first year cubs in the bay where we camp.  We didn’t spot any in the bay that year, which raised some serious concerns for us about the health of the mothers before they went into the den.  I had witnessed illegal salmon poaching in their bay in 2008, and worried the stealing of the bear’s salmon led to a decrease in reproduction.  The number of cubs a mother bear gives birth to depends on how fat she is when entering the den for the winter.  If she isn’t fat and healthy, no cubs will be born.  If she is super healthy, up to four cubs may be born.

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