2 Brown Bear

Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK) - - Wildlife -

RANGE: Some 200,000 brown bears live across North Amer­ica, Europe and Cen­tral Asia.

THE EX­PE­RI­ENCE: Alaska’s fa­mous brown bears de­scend on its rivers in late sum­mer for one last big feed be­fore hi­ber­na­tion, and here they jostle for the best fish­ing po­si­tions, try­ing (and of­ten fail­ing) to catch their slip­pery prey. Watch­ing from se­cure view­ing plat­forms and sur­rounded by a sea of brown fur, it’s a sight like nowhere else. NEED TO KNOW: Bears are not some­thing you want to en­counter alone. Many parks have view­ing hides and plat­forms, or drives where you can stop by the road­side ( just look for any gath­er­ing of ve­hi­cles) and catch one am­bling along. But mostly you’ll be out in the wild and vul­ner­a­ble; for that you need an ex­pert guide/tracker who can recog­nise prints and knows how to stay safe.

BEST PLACE TO SEE… In the US, Alaska’s Kat­mai Na­tional Park is justly fa­mous, with three bear-view­ing plat­forms within a cou­ple of kilo­me­tres’ walk of its fly-in camp (Jun–sept), as you spy bears fum­bling with their prey dur­ing the salmon run (July). Glacier NP in Mon­tana is an­other reg­u­lar stomp­ing ground for bear-spot­ters, as is Water­ton Lakes NP over the bor­der in Canada.

In Europe, north­ern Greece’s Pin­dus Moun­tains, the Carpathian Moun­tains (par­tic­u­larly Ro­ma­nia), the West­ern Ta­tras of Slo­vakia, and even up in north­ern Swe­den (May–sept) are all good lo­ca­tions. The rarest sight­ings are found in Spain’s As­turias re­gion, where tours in late spring and sum­mer set off in search of its few-re­main­ing Cantabrian bears, of which ap­prox­i­mately 250 still sur­vive in the wild.

Furry for­ag­ing A brown bear rum­mages around the Alaska Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Cen­ter, on the Se­ward High­way, near Portage

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