Alaska's badass bears: A battle to reclaim the river's throne


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Alaska's badass bears: A battle to reclaim the river's throne

Alaskas badass bears A battle to reclaim the rivers throne.jpg

In the deep Alaskan wilderness, an imposing brown bear has regained his lost throne. Bear 856 — well known on the live streaming webcams — had been the dominant bear along Katmai National Park's Brooks River for at least six years.

But last summer, Bear 856 appeared skinny and enfeebled. Another large male, Bear 32 — nicknamed "Chunk" by the rangers — exploited 856's condition and took control of the bear's dynamic river hierarchy. Rangers watched from elevated bear-viewing platforms as an emboldened Chunk pushed other bears around and claimed the river's best fishing spots.

Yet, over the last three and a half months, Bear 856 has reestablished his dominance, even over the likes of formidable Bear 32 and the tank-like Bear 747. At times, 856 has tackled other large bears that have attempted to challenge him, but he hasn't ceded any ground. Now, the bears are fattening up for their long winter hibernation, and it appears 856 will end the season as the river's king, once again.

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