Andrew kelly Wildlife and Landscape Photography

Fighting Brown Bears

Fighting Brown Bears in Alaska


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Brown Bear


Scientific Name:

Ursus arctos horribilis



Katmai National Park, Alaska






These fighting brown bears are coastal American brown bears, the same species as Grizzly Bears only they are larger. The reason they are larger is because of the yearly Salmon run. Once a year the bears gorge themselves on the Salmon that are returning to spawn. This feast can increase the bear's weight by as much as 50 percent. These bears were photographed at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park.

They are here to feed on the Salmon at the waterfall. The bears aren't very social and only really put up with each other because of the abundance of food. The reason these bears are fighting is that the large male on the right has strayed too close to a very large and aggressive alpha male bear. Although they ran at each other and rose from the water in a dramatic and aggressive fashion, the male on the right backed off and held his head low in a submissive posture.

Photographing these bears over six days gave me the chance to get to know which bears were likely to fight and which were not. These daily encounters grew more interesting as I got to know each animal's character. They are among my favourite animal behaviour images from Alaska.