As soon as we arrived in Lake Clark National Park, we were eager to start looking for grizzly bears to photograph. We unpacked, and after a quick dinner, headed out into the evening light to find three bears in one of the meadows. At this time of the year, there are 23 hours of light in Alaska so 7-10 pm looked like mid-afternoon. Two of the bears in the meadow were closer together and we were told they had been mating the past couple days. The third bear was another female without cubs and the male appeared interested.
We nicknamed the male Scarface due to his beat up appearance, as shown above. We heard from others that after a previous mating session with the female in the image below, there was a bit of a brawl and it appears that she had won. From the image below, you can see that she was absolutely stunning with a gorgeous body of thick fur.
When Scarface eyed the third female and started walking towards her, the female took off running for the forest. That was the end of her for the romance of the evening. The remaining female attempted to win back Scarface’s attention. She laid down in the grass and made herself completely available to him.
After a couple minutes on her back, she sat up and waited a bit. She appeared a bit sleepy in the bright evening sun.
She kept her eye on Scarface as he turned his attention to eat the meadow grasses. He had already shed most of the fur on his back which further revealed his beat up body from fights among other males and females.
Soon she tried once again to entice Scarface for another mating session. She rolled around for several minutes, sticking her feet in the air and working hard to get his attention.
His interest continued to be his tummy and filling it with the lush meadow grasses.
Realizing defeat, she got up and began foraging in the grasses as well. Scarface grazed and headed towards our group. He slowly meandered closer and closer.
Scarface came within 15 feet of our group! As instructed by our guide Belle before we went out to the meadows, I stayed still and calm since I was at the end of the group and closest to him. Of course, I took the opportunity to take photos of him!
Each day brought more stories of the life of the grizzlies. Stay tuned! You can view these images individually and more not posted here in my portfolio located here.