Bears, Salmon and Drama at Alaska’s Anan Creek

Anan Creek in southeast Alaska is one of those special places where people can get amazing views of bears feasting on salmon. This BBC video shows some great footage of some Anan Creek action.

What I like about this BBC video is that it is nothing special. In other words, the activity the filmakers caught was not out of the ordinary for Anan Creek at that time of the year. You don’t need to be a BBC filmaker with a big budget behind you to see this sort of thing at Anan Creek. You just need to be there on any given day during a good salmon run.

See that grizzly bear emerging from behind that log at the 40 second mark? That is the same log that this large male black bear was sleeping on the last time I was at Anan Creek (photo below). Anybody else who was there that day could have taken the same picture.

Black Bear sleeping on log

 

Predictable human behaviour creates amazing bear viewing

This kind of viewing experience is possible at this place because human behaviour has been carefully controlled. This means our actions have become predictable enough that the bears tolerate our presence. Predictability is the key to establishing trust – or tolerance – with bears. It can take years to establish this kind of a relationship with the bears at any particular location, but once it happens it gives people an amazing view into their world with an acceptable amount of risk.

Black bear eating a salmonThere is a reason why so many wildlife films featuring bears are shot at established bear viewing destinations; it lets the filmakers get close enough to capture amazing footage without putting themselves at risk – or having their subject matter run away. If the camera man from the BBC video had zoomed way out, the viewer would see that there were other people there – normal people – watching the same spectacular scene in close proximity to the bears. Nobody was scared. And nobody got hurt. All this is possible because human behaviour has been closely controlled at Anan Creek for a long time.

How to get to Anan Creek

It isn’t easy. Access is only by boat or float plane. But if you’re ever in Alaska and have time to make the trip you likely won’t be disappointed. You can find all the information you need about the Anan Creek Wildlife Viewing Site at this link.

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