Katmai's awe-inspiring natural powers confront us most visibly in its volcanos and its brown bears: in summer North America's largest land predators gather along streams to feast on salmon runs, building weight from this wealth of protein and fat, preparing for the long winter ahead. Alaska's brown bears and grizzlies are now considered one species. People commonly consider grizzlies to be those that live 100 miles or more inland. Browns are bigger than grizzlies thanks to their rich diet of fish. Mature male bears in Katmai may weigh up to 1200 pounds. Mating occurs from May to mid-July, with the cubs born in dens in mid-winter. Up to four cubs may be born, at a mere pound each. Cubs stay with the mother for two years, during which time she does not reproduce. . About half of their lifetimes is spent in their dens. These awe-inspiring bears symbolize the wildness of Katmai today.
© Ramdas Iyer Photography