Posted by:calpoppy, 10:37 PM GMT on August 28, 2012
Brown bears (ursus arctos) occur through out Alaska, as well as Canada and some of the lower 48 states. Though Brown bears are technically the same as a Grizzly, they are called Brown bears in certain areas and Grizzly in others.
On Kodiak Island and the surrounding islands the Brown bears are known as Kodiaks. The Kodiak bear is classified as a distinct sub-species Ursus Arctos Middendorffi. These bears are different because they are genetically and physcially isolated. The main difference besides size is the shape of their heads. The largest bear taken in the Kodiak islands was 14' long and weighed 1800 lbs. Another large bear was 1660 lbs and had a hind foot measurement of 18". I don't think bear mace would cut it if you had an encounter with these guys!
In coastal areas, especially where there is salmon they are called Brown bears, inland Grizzlies. There is a size difference between the coastal bears and the inland bears. Coastal bears are bigger. Probably the salmon diet, so much protein.
When we hiked out by Skilak lake there was enough bear scat on the trail for you to know this was not a trail for humans!
The rule in Alaska and other areas where there is salmon, is where there is salmon there will be bears. On Kodiak the last reported death by a bear was in 1999, before that it was back in the 1920's. So people and bears can get along.
As we were floating down the Kenai river around the bend on a gravel bar was a young two year female bear. It was great to see her but what was really cool was to see her reaction to the two one year olds that came onto the scene.
Here she is minding her own business
Now she spots the two
Now she runs
Okay, maybe they aren't so bad
Here is one of those cute one year old, who really aren't all that small!
Seeing bears in the wild is the ultimate in adventuring for me. Maybe in the future a float plane ride on Kodiak to where many bears congregate for salmon spawning season.