Grizzly mom and cub mountain landscape wm 960

One could be forgiven for thinking that even the grizzly bears in Banff take a break from their daily routines to appreciate the mountain scenery. While I will never discount the fact that other animals can appreciate their surroundings, what’s more likely is that this bear is smelling the air for any potential threats or food options.

I took this photo last month near one of the most popular places in Canada; Lake Louise.  Bear 138 as she is known to park biologists, was feasting on one of the only spring food sources available to the bears; dandelions. Imagine how many dandelions a 150-200kg lactating grizzly bear would need to eat to produce enough milk to feed her two cubs?  Needless to say, it’s a staggering amount. When they enter their hyperphagic state later this month, they eat about 35,000 calories a day.  To put that in perspective, the average person eats about 2000 calories daily!  Almost all of these calories are from berries, with a single bear eating between 200-300,000 berries per day to put on enough fat to survive the winter. That’s the equivalent of you or I eating 63 hamburgers daily! Yet these bears suffer no heart disease or complications association with high cholesterol.

This only touches the tip of the iceberg of all the interesting adaptations of bears, but I hope you agree that these are amazing animals and deserving of our respect and protection.

 

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