Tongass National Forest, National Geographic Magazine: Juvenile Grizzly Bear

A young brown bear appears to be dancing and he stands up while frolicing in a meadow along Pack Creek on Admiralty Island in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. Juvenile brown bears, or grizzly bears, usually separate from their mothers when they are two years old.

Pack Creek runs through an open intertidal meadow before spilling into the ocean. It has the highest concentration of grizzly bears in all of southeast Alaska. Biologists estimate that the Alaskan grizzly population is holding strong at about 45,000 bears, about 40 times the number in the rest of the U.S. The decline in the range and numbers in the lower 48 states has heightened management concern and an increased interest in habitat-related studies. It is believed that brown bears avoid clearcuts and are more often found in riparian old growth, wetlands, and alpine/subalpine habitat because of more nutritious foraging and better cover.

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