All photos: Jaymi Heimbuch
Massive. Powerful. Fast.
The coastal grizzly bear of Alaska is one of the largest subspecies of brown bear with males growing to more than 700 pounds and standing more than 6 feet tall. The only subspecies that grows larger is the famed Kodiak bear. The secret to the size of coastal brown bears is fairly simple: they eat — a lot. With an incredible sense of smell and a broad diet, coastal grizzlies can feast on anything from grasses and berries to clams and salmon, their most famous food source. Salmon is a protein and fat source that grizzlies living farther inland don't have access to, which means they can't grow as large as their cousins living along the ocean's edge.
During the late summer, as salmon are coming in from the sea and swimming up rivers to spawning grounds, coastal grizzlies enjoy the biggest feast of the year. Splashing through rivers chasing fish, coastal grizzlies gorge on salmon to store up as much fat for winter as possible. This is one of the best times of year for these bears, and witnessing their feasts (and food comas) is quite the experience. Enjoy these images of coastal grizzly bears in the middle of the salmon runs in Alaska's Katmai National Park.
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