2016 Bear Profile: 128 Grazer

August 20, 2016 Posted by: David Kopshever

A mother bear stands with her three spring cubs
Photo Courtesy of Anela Ramos.

As visitors, cam viewers, and rangers endure the lean bear viewing month of August, we’ll be taking a look back at some of the bear stories that have developed over the first half of the season. 

Sows with cubs have been a huge part of the bear viewing experience at Brooks Camp this year. Though lip fishing bears like 409, 128, and 402 have spent less time pleasing photographers on the top of the falls, they have entertained from afar, caring for spring cubs along the cut-bank and below the riffles platform. Though fishing is less productive in those areas, sows with cubs generally spend more time below the falls to avoid larger, dominant bears that may prey on vulnerable cubs. 

One of 128's cubs resting

Photo courtesy of A. Ramos

128 “Grazer” has been an excellent case study for how sows with cubs adapt to a new set of circumstances — a need to balance the demands of their own survival, and the drive to protect their otherwise helpless cubs. 

Through the month of July, 128 “Grazer” has demonstrated how balancing those conflicting needs is, like many things in the bear world, a learning process. 128’s three spring cubs are her first litter. Soon after arriving to the Brooks River, she fiercely defended her cubs when 83 “Wayne Brother” approached too close to the family group on his way to the falls. Just a few days later, 128 also charged 402, chasing her away from the river. Both of the bears 128 drove off are much larger than her. 

“Grazer’s” aggressive disposition worked well for warding off threats, but presented another issue: too much time was spent worrying about the dangers around her and her cubs, and not enough time was spent catching fish. Her physique showed the lack of balance between the two needs. Even by mid July, 128 looked as thin as a lean spring bear. It is normal for sows with cubs to be skinnier than they are without cubs. Caring for cubs means less time fishing, and the calories gained by fish that are caught are “shared” among the family. Slowly but surely, “Grazer” adapted her behavior to compensate. 

128 in July 2015 compared to July 2016

Left: Photo Courtesy of T. Carmack. Right: Photo Courtesy of D. Kopshever

Throughout the middle of July, we watched 128 inch closer and closer to the falls. She became less stressed by the presence of other bears, allowing large males like 480 to approach within a dozen yards or closer. She spent less time looking over her shoulder and more time with her eyes trained on the schools of salmon in front of her. Towards the end of July, 128 even got up onto the lip, sometimes treeing her cubs while she fished. Still, “Grazer” remained vigilant. 

As are all bears, “Grazer” and her cubs were often at great risk by fishing at the falls. Late in July, 128 again needed to defend her cubs aggressively, this time against the largest bear on the river, 747. A few days later, her cubs were swept over the falls, sending “Grazer” into a frenzied panic. In each brush with danger, 128 successfully protected her cubs.  So far, “Grazer” seems to be winning in the “risk vs. reward” game of survival.

218 Gazer laying on the river bank
Photo courtesy of A. Ramos

As a result of her adapted behavior, “Grazer” has put on more weight. Her cubs have too. If and when we see “Grazer” again in the fall, there is no guarantee she will have all, or any, of her cubs with her. But whether she raises her cubs to be weaned or not, 128 is on her way to being a successful bear. As the season continues, we all hope to watch as she continues to balance the demands of her own survival against those of her cubs.
  

Tune in to Explore.org to watch the #bearcam live, from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. Learn more about the individual bears of the Brooks River with Katmai's free bear ID book, at https://www.nps.gov/katm/learn/photosmultimedia/ebooks.htm 

A mother bear sits with her three spring cubs

survival, adaptation, Brooks Falls




49 Comments Comments icon

  1. converse all star gold
    June 07, 2018 at 02:00
     

    Out of the players who missed out last year, Mussina is eight highest on the list. converse all star gold http://isconhealthcare.com/inquiry.php?Cheap=converse-all-star-gold

     
  2. September 01, 2016 at 12:47
     

    I am in love with Grazer and her family! I sure hope the smallest cub puts on weight! Just amazing watching Grazer take care of those Cubs. I have become so attached to this family over the summer. My day is not complete until I check-in and see how they are doing.

     
  3. September 01, 2016 at 12:47
     

    I am in love with Grazer and her family! I sure hope the smallest cub puts on weight! Just amazing watching Grazer take care of those Cubs. I have become so attached to this family over the summer. My day is not complete until I check-in and see how they are doing.

     
  4. September 01, 2016 at 12:47
     

    I am in love with Grazer and her family! I sure hope the smallest cub puts on weight! Just amazing watching Grazer take care of those Cubs. I have become so attached to this family over the summer. My day is not complete until I check-in and see how they are doing.

     
  5. September 01, 2016 at 12:47
     

    I am in love with Grazer and her family! I sure hope the smallest cub puts on weight! Just amazing watching Grazer take care of those Cubs. I have become so attached to this family over the summer. My day is not complete until I check-in and see how they are doing.

     
  6. August 26, 2016 at 07:54
     

    My inability to sleep has been rewarded by watching your beautiful bears. We have black bears in our yard weekly and I have always been in awe of their abilities. But other than watching them struggle to get at our bird feeders, with little success, observing the Grizzlies catching fish is amazing. Thank you for the work you do protecting our forests and the wildlife.

     
  7. August 26, 2016 at 07:54
     

    My inability to sleep has been rewarded by watching your beautiful bears. We have black bears in our yard weekly and I have always been in awe of their abilities. But other than watching them struggle to get at our bird feeders, with little success, observing the Grizzlies catching fish is amazing. Thank you for the work you do protecting our forests and the wildlife.

     
  8. August 26, 2016 at 07:54
     

    My inability to sleep has been rewarded by watching your beautiful bears. We have black bears in our yard weekly and I have always been in awe of their abilities. But other than watching them struggle to get at our bird feeders, with little success, observing the Grizzlies catching fish is amazing. Thank you for the work you do protecting our forests and the wildlife.

     
  9. Lin
    August 24, 2016 at 11:19
     

    We spent our 50th wedding anniversary in August 2016 at Brooks Falls, fulfilling a bucket list wish of many years. Yes, we had an 8 foot close encounter with a mom and two cubs on the trail out to the falls. We followed the rules and backed up while talking gently to her and she and the cubs went to search for berries in a different direction. My favorite bear at the falls is Holly. We watched her near the camp and at the falls for parts of 3 days. What a wonderful place.

     
  10. August 24, 2016 at 09:42
     

    Wonderful article - and my favourite webcam! Just one comment - is it just me or is the first (very gorgeous!!) picture actually NOT Grazer? The fur is very different and so are the lovely ears. My nickname for her is actually "Puschelohr", which kind of means "Fluff Ear". She must have the most wonderful ears in the animal kingdom! = )

     
  11. August 24, 2016 at 09:41
     

    Wonderful article - and my favourite webcam! Just one comment - is it just me or is the first (very gorgeous!!) picture actually NOT Grazer? The fur is very different and so are the lovely ears. My nickname for her is actually "Puschelohr", which kind of means "Fluff Ear". She must have the most wonderful ears in the animal kingdom! = )

     
  12. Val
    August 24, 2016 at 12:03
     

    Thank you for the wonderful profile of 128. I have really enjoyed watching this beautiful bear with her cubs. I hope she is able to continue to protect those cubs and that she returns to the falls in September.

     
  13. August 23, 2016 at 06:15
     

    Greatly appreciate the write up on Grazer.The pictures are beautiful.She is truly a remarkable diligent bear. Such a pleasure to have an opportunity to watch her in her efforts to raise her cubs.Thanks to you all for making this a wonderful experience.

     
  14. August 23, 2016 at 06:11
     

    Greatly appreciate the write up on Grazer.The pictures are beautiful.She is truly a remarkable diligent bear. Such a pleasure to have an opportunity to watch her in her efforts to raise her cubs.Thanks to you all for making this a wonderful experience.

     
  15. August 23, 2016 at 01:28
     

    Thanks for a wonderful article, as well as the beautiful pictures.

     
  16. August 23, 2016 at 12:46
     

    Wonderful story/profile of 128 and her cubs. The pictures were great, too. Thanks so much for sharing. Ditto to Karen's comments!

     
  17. August 23, 2016 at 11:40
     

    I found this web cam about a month ago and I am totally obsessed. I have to check in several times a day to see how "my bears" are doing. I found this article very interesting. It is not all instinct, but there is also a learning curve. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of this amazing animal.

     
  18. August 23, 2016 at 09:25
     

    Great recap. Missed some of the above but not all. She has truly been a heart stopper for me during some of her ventures. Thanks for keeping us updated. Great job this year too!

     
  19. August 23, 2016 at 08:42
     

    Absolutely hooked on watching the life of the bears at Katmai, such a beautiful place. Especially love watching the antics of Grazer and her family. Thank you to all the Rangers, and Explore for this wonderful opportunity.

     
  20. August 23, 2016 at 08:39
     

    Absolutely hooked on watching the life of the bears at Katmai, such a beautiful place. Especially love watching the antics of Grazer and her family. Thank you to all the Rangers, and Explore for this wonderful opportunity.

     
  21. August 22, 2016 at 10:37
     

    The explorer cams at Brooks Falls have been such a wonderful experience - whether one has had opportunity to visit BF or a first time visitor. Have seen many of the bears in person and on the explorer cams. Never fails to amaze me how the bears are so communal during their fishing experiences at the falls. Otis is my favorite over the years and am so happy to see that he is holding his own and can still hold his own with other male bears. Grazer is stern but very loving to her cubs She is becoming very experienced as a first time Mom. Looking to seeing next summer and how her cubs fared over the winter. 402 is a very professional mother bear ad her cubs are a enjoying the wonderful learning and testing their at the Falls. She is an amazing teacher. Thank you BF and explorer in helping to educate all watchers that we are in their environment and must keep it and them safe.

     
  22. August 22, 2016 at 09:50
     

    Thank you, Ranger Dave for this beautiful post about my most favorite bear, Grazer, and her cubs! During this month of August I miss seeing them at Brooks Falls. I am also grieving the loss of Lurch last week. Thank you for all that you guys and gals do for these beautiful bears. I long to see Grazer, her cubs, as well as Chunk, Otis, and the other beloved bears again soon!

     
  23. August 22, 2016 at 09:38
     

    Thank you for sharing her story and the photos! I've been following this family all summer and have hopes for their continued survival.

     
  24. August 22, 2016 at 09:36
     

    Thank you for sharing her story and the photos! I've been following this family all summer and have hopes for their continued survival.

     
  25. August 22, 2016 at 09:05
     

    I loved reading about Grazer and her cubbies! The photos are amazing! This is my first season watching my wild Grizzly cousins! Thank-you for the chance to watch!

     
  26. August 22, 2016 at 07:44
     

    we much appreciate the updates from the rangers and the work of the cam operators. Look forward to the fall season

     
  27. August 22, 2016 at 07:14
     

    Thank you for the update of Grazer over the summer. And as much as I would use a free beer ID book, bears would be better 😉

     
  28. August 22, 2016 at 07:12
     

    Thank you for this article and the pictures. I just melt when I see those precious cubs, especially Peanut. I sure hope that next time we see her, she still has all 3. I keep trying to remind myself it's survival of the fittest, but I'm sure hoping those 3 cubs are some of the fittest. Thank you, Rangers and CAM operators, for your time and efforts. This is my first season and I'm anxiously waiting for the next run in September.

     
  29. August 22, 2016 at 07:11
     

    I love this thank you so much for posting! You're the bomb ranger Dave!

     
  30. August 22, 2016 at 06:56
     

    Wonderful writing. Love watching Grazer and her cubs in all of their adventures. Hope they thrive.

     
  31. DEE
    August 22, 2016 at 05:42
     

    I started watching the bear cam in late June. It has been a roller coaster ride watching Grazer 128 and her cubs. The only male bear that she has not gone after is 856. I have my fingers crossed that we see her and all 3 of her cubs in the Fall and in the Spring. I really have learned a lot from the Play By Plays. Thank you for being there.

     
  32. DEE
    August 22, 2016 at 05:42
     

    I started watching the bear cam in late June. It has been a roller coaster ride watching Grazer 128 and her cubs. The only male bear that she has not gone after is 856. I have my fingers crossed that we see her and all 3 of her cubs in the Fall and in the Spring. I really have learned a lot from the Play By Plays. Thank you for being there.

     
  33. August 22, 2016 at 05:17
     

    I was lucky enough to visit Brooks Falls in July 2015 and Grazer was one of my favorite bears. She was up there fishing with the big boys. Best of luck to her and her cubs. Carry on, Grazer.

     
  34. August 22, 2016 at 05:04
     

    Another great article and fabulous photos from Anela. I vote for Grazer as the bear with the best ears. So fuzzy! Let's hope we see Grazer and all 3 cubs in the fall.

     
  35. August 22, 2016 at 05:02
     

    A wonderful article and pictures of Grazer and her 3 cubs. This being my first year watching I just can't get enough of her and her cubs. Those little cubs seems fearless, especially the smallest one. The falls experience shows their bravery or their lack of common sense. I do hope they show up again before hibernation. I'm really curious about the "free beer ID book", at https://www.nps.gov/katm/learn/photosmultimedia/ebooks.htm. Didn't realize National Parks were into identifying "beers". (Sarcasm and misspelled word! I"m big on proof reading.)

     
  36. August 22, 2016 at 04:45
     

    Great blog & wonderful pictures! Is there any way of knowing the family tree of the bears? AS, do you know who is the mother of Grazer? Are any of the mothering skills taught if the cubs might stay with the mom for 3 years? I would love to know who the mother of Otis is!!

     
  37. August 22, 2016 at 04:01
     

    Wonderful article......Beautiful pictures of Grazer and her cubs!! It's been a joy watching her family this season!! Then, I just had to giggle at the last line about the Free BEER ID Book............Does make me laugh!!! :)

     
  38. August 22, 2016 at 04:00
     

    Wonderful article......Beautiful pictures of Grazer and her cubs!! It's been a joy watching her family this season!! Then, I just had to giggle at the last line about the Free BEER ID Book............Does make me laugh!!! :)

     
  39. August 22, 2016 at 02:50
     

    I only started watching the bear cam in July but have learned so much and gained an appreciation for bears in general. I have especially enjoyed watching 128 and her cubs. Thank you to all the rangers and explore.org. for making it possible to view and learn more about these magnificent creations of God.

     
  40. August 22, 2016 at 02:49
     

    Those pictures are wonderful! Thank you for you post, it was "Grazer and the Grazeretts" to a "T"!

     
  41. August 22, 2016 at 02:37
     

    Beautiful photos and wonderful summary. Thanks.

     
  42. August 22, 2016 at 02:35
     

    This is my first year watching the bears. I thoroughly enjoy these cams and Grazer and cubs are one of my favorites. I have learned so much about bears from the Rangers and people on the board. Thanks so much for the wonderful pictures and information on Grazer.

     
  43. August 22, 2016 at 02:09
     

    Thank you so much for sharing this information with us. I can't believe what these mom' s have to contend with to raise their Cubs. I so enjoy watching and reading about wildlife and will continue to do so. Again thanks

     
  44. Peg
    August 22, 2016 at 12:34
     

    Thanks for the info, but even more for the beautiful photos. My children are now "adults", and I am not certain that you could have gotten this quality of a pose. As a fan of watching these little "nuts" drive Grazer crazy, I adore the pics! As any mother knows, being photographed with your family brings out the best in you, and it seems to have transferred to the wild as well.

     
  45. August 22, 2016 at 12:32
     

    Thank you for the photographs and Interesting insights and interpretations of each of the bears, as if thought from the perspective from the mind of the bear!

     
  46. August 22, 2016 at 12:31
     

    Thank you for the photographs and Interesting insights and interpretations of each of the bears, as if thought from the perspective from the mind of the bear!

     
  47. August 22, 2016 at 11:10
     

    Thank you Ranger Dave for a recap of bear 128. I just started watching Explore's BearCams this summer and witnessed bear 128 and cubs in some of the tactics you described employed in living a wild bear life at Brooks Falls/Katmai. I have learned so much. It has been amazing and a unique opportunity to witness (even for a moment) these bears lives develop over the last few weeks. Even though it is very easy for us BearCam viewers to anthropomorphize these bears, I appreciate the Rangers at Katmai continue to communicate and impress upon all of us the importance and respect for the bears "wildness." Thanks again for teaching us all!

     
  48. Pat
    August 21, 2016 at 07:35
     

    Thank you for the pictures and information on 128 and cubs.

     
  49. August 21, 2016 at 06:40
     

    This is my first season viewing the Explore cameras at Brooks Falls and I am totally enraptured. TY to the Rangers and camera operators for educating and delighting me. Grazer 128 and her 3 cubs have allowed me to glimpse their world and for that I am grateful. Watching the cubs go over the falls 1...2...3 and see Grazer run down to them was a definite high light.

     
 
Leave this field empty
Required information

Post A Comment

Last updated: August 28, 2016

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 7
1000 Silver Street, Building 603

King Salmon, AK 99613

Phone:

(907) 246-3305

Contact Us