WILD LIFE LANDSCAPE Nature Photosslides

Bear Photos

Grizzly Bear Photos from Alaska, Yellowstone, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Black Bear Photos from Wyoming, Montana and Minnesota. Polar bears from Alaska and Canada.



Grizzly Bear Photos from Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Including a large file of Yellowstone Grizzlies

Grizly in Fire regowth area


Grizzly Bear Photos

Grizzly bears are generally larger and more heavily built than other bears.  Grizzly bears can be distinguished from black bears, which also occur in the lower 48 States, by longer, curved claws, humped shoulders, and a face that appears to be concave.  A wide range of coloration from light brown to nearly black is common.  Spring shedding, new growth, nutrition, and coat conditions all affect coloration.  Guard hairs are often pale in color at the tips; hence the name "grizzly."  In the lower 48 States, the average weight of grizzly bears is generally 400 to 600 pounds for males and 250 to 350 pounds for females.  Grizzly bears are long lived mammals and generally live to be around 25 years old.

Background:  When Lewis and Clark explored the West in the early 1800s, an estimated 50,000 grizzly bears roamed between the Pacific Ocean and the Great Plains, across vast stretches of open and unpopulated land.  But when pioneers moved in, bears were persecuted and their numbers and range drastically declined.  As European settlement expanded over the next hundred years, towns and cities sprung up, and habitat for these large omnivores--along with their numbers--shrunk drastically.  Today, with the western United States inhabited by millions of Americans, only a few small corners of grizzly country remain, supporting about 1,200 - 1,400 wild grizzly bears.  Of 37 grizzly populations present in 1922, 31 were extirpated by 1975.

In 1975, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the grizzly bear as a threatened species in the Lower 48 States under the Endangered Species Act, placing the species under federal protection.

Locations:  Today, grizzly bear distribution is primarily within but not limited to the areas identified as Recovery Zones including--the Yellowstone area in northwest Wyoming, eastern Idaho, and southwest Montana (9,200 square miles (sq mi)) at more than 580 bears; the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem of north central Montana (9,600 sq mi) at more than 400 bears; the North Cascades area of north central Washington (9,500 sq mi) at less than 20 bears; the Selkirk Mountains area of northern Idaho, northeast Washington, and southeast British Columbia (2,200 sq mi) at approximately 40 to 50 bears; and the Cabinet Yaak area of northwest Montana and northern Idaho (2,600 sq mi) at approximately 30 to 40 bears.  There is an additional Recovery Zone known as the Bitterroot Recovery Zone in the Bitterroot Mountains of east central Idaho and western Montana (5,600 sq mi) but this area does not contain any grizzly bears at this time.  The San Juan Mountains of Colorado also were identified as an area of possible grizzly bear occurrence, but no evidence of grizzly bears has been found in the San Juan Mountains since a bear was killed there in 1979.

Recovery:  In 1981, the Service hired a grizzly bear recovery coordinator to direct recovery efforts and to coordinate all agency efforts on research and management of grizzly bears in the lower 48 States.  Recovery of the grizzly bear covers four states and two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regions.  The initial Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan was completed in 1982. A revised Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan included additional tasks and new information that increased the focus and effectiveness of recovery efforts.  The national grizzly bear recovery coordinator contact information:

Dr. Chris Servheen"

us gov



Grizzly or Brown Bear Photos. Images from Alaska including Lake Clark and Katmai Parks

Alaska Grizly or Brown Bear with cub


Stock Alaska Brown bear photos

Brown bears (Ursus arctos) occur throughout Alaska except on the islands south of Frederick Sound in southeastern Alaska, the islands west of Unimak in the Aleutian Chain, and the islands of the Bering Sea. They also occur in Canada, Asia, Europe, and in limited numbers in a few western states. Brown bears are very much a part of the Alaska scene and are a favorite topic with most hunters, hikers, photographers, and fishers.

General description: Formerly, taxonomists listed brown and grizzly bears as separate species. Technically, brown and grizzly bears are classified as the same species, Ursus arctos. Brown bears on Kodiak Island are classified as a distinct subspecies from those on the mainland because they are genetically and physically isolated. The shape of their skulls also differs slightly.

The term “brown bear” is commonly used to refer to the members of this species found in coastal areas where salmon is the primary food source. Brown bears found inland and in northern habitats are often called “grizzlies.” In this paper, brown bear is used to refer to all members of Ursus arctos.

The brown bear resembles its close relative the black bear, Ursus americanus. The brown bear, however, is usually larger, has a more prominent shoulder hump, less prominent ears, and longer, straighter claws. Both the prominent hump and the long claws of the brown bear are adaptations that are related to feeding behavior. The long claws are useful in digging for roots or excavating burrows of small mammals. The musculature and bone structure of the hump are adaptations for digging and for attaining bursts of speed necessary for capture of moose or caribou for food. Color is not a reliable key in differentiating these bears because both species have many color phases. Black bears, for example, occur in many hues of brown, and even shades of blue and white. Brown bear colors range from dark brown through light blond.

Bear weights vary depending on the time of year. Bears weigh the least in the spring or early summer. They gain weight rapidly during late summer and fall and are waddling fat just prior to denning. At this time most mature males weigh between 500 and 900 pounds (180-410 kg) with extremely large individuals weighing as much as 1,400 pounds (640 kg). Females weigh half to three-quarters as much. An extremely large brown bear may have a skull 18 inches long (46 cm) and 12 inches wide (30 cm). Such a bear, when standing on its hind feet, is about 9 feet (2.7 m) tall. Inland bears are usually smaller than coastal bears, probably because they do not have a readily available supply of protein-rich food, such as salmon, in their diet.

Brown bears have been known to live 34 years in the wild, though this is rare. Usually, old males may reach 22 years. Old females may live to 26. Brown bears have an especially good sense of smell and under the right conditions may be able to detect odors more than a mile distant. Their hearing and eyesight are probably equivalent to that of humans. When bears stand upright, it is not to get ready to charge but to test the wind and to see better.

Life history: Mating takes place from May through July with the peak of activity in early June. Brown bears generally do not have strong mating ties. Individual bears are rarely seen with a mate for more than a week. Males may mate with more than one female during breeding season. The hairless young, weighing less than a pound, are born the following January or February in a winter den. Litter size ranges from one to four cubs, but two is most common. Offspring typically separate from their mothers as 2-year olds in May or June. Following separation, the mother can breed again and produce a new litter of cubs the following year. In some parts of Alaska, research results reveal that offspring may not separate from their mothers until they are 3 to 5 years old. This appears to be most common in areas where food is scarce. In some of these areas, females may skip one to three years before producing new litters.

Bear populations vary depending on the productivity of the environment. In areas of low productivity, such as on Alaska’s North Slope, studies have revealed bear densities as low as one bear per 300 square miles. In areas teeming with easily available food, such as Admiralty Island in Southeast Alaska, densities as high as one bear per square mile have been found. In central Alaska, both north and south of the Alaska Range, bear densities tend to be intermediate, about one bear per 15-23 square miles. These are average figures which shouldn’t be interpreted to mean that each bear has this much territory for its exclusive use. The area occupied by any individual bear may overlap that used by many other individuals.

Safety: All brown bears should be treated with respect and can be safely observed only from a distance of at least 100 yards. This is especially true for family groups of a female and her offspring as mother bears are very protective towards their young. Bears protecting a food source, such as the buried carcass of a moose or caribou, should also be treated with special caution. In bear country, campers can best avoid conflicts with bears if they minimize food odors, store their food out of a bear’s reach and away from their camp, and avoid camping on bear travel routes.

Food habits: Like humans, brown bears consume a wide variety of foods. Common foods include berries, grasses, sedges, horsetails, cow parsnips, fish, ground squirrels, and roots of many kinds of plants. In some parts of Alaska, brown bears have been shown to be capable predators of newborn moose and caribou. They can also kill and consume healthy adults of these species and domestic animals. Bears are fond of all types of carrion as well as garbage in human dumps.

Except for females with offspring and breeding animals, bears are typically solitary creatures and avoid the company of other bears. Exceptions to this occur where food sources are concentrated such as streams where bears can catch salmon swimming upstream to spawn. At McNeil River Falls, the largest concentration of brown bears occurs annually. Biologists have observed more than 60 bears at one time, attracted by spawning salmon.

Winter dormancy: In the winter when food is unavailable or scarce, most Alaska brown bears enter dens and hibernate through the winter. While in this state, their body temperatures, heart rate, and other metabolic rates are reduced. Their need for food and water is eliminated. In northern areas with long hard winters, bears may spend from 5 to 7 ½ months in dens. In areas with relatively warmer winters, such as Kodiak Island, a few bears may stay active all winter. Pregnant females are usually the first to enter dens in the fall. These females, with their newborn cubs, are the last to exit dens. Adult males, on the other hand, appear to enter dens later and emerge earlier than most other bears.

Hunting: Bear hunting is popular in Alaska and, with proper management, can occur without causing populations to decline. Bear hunting seasons are held in both spring and fall in some areas but only in fall in other areas. Cubs and females with offspring may not be killed. Bear meat should be thoroughly cooked to prevent contracting trichinosis, a parasitic disease that may be fatal to man.

Hunters should examine bears closely with binoculars before shooting to determine if the pelt has spots where the hair has been rubbed away. Such rubbed spots result in a poorer quality hide. A little extra time spent observing a bear before shooting may also prevent the hunter from taking a female that has cubs hidden nearby. An excellent guide to judging trophy brown bears and distinguishing between sexes of bears is the Take a Closer Look video which is available for viewing at most Alaska Department of Fish and Game offices.

Research and conservation: Because Alaska contains over 98 percent of the United States population of brown bears, and more than 70 percent of the North American population, it has a special responsibility for this large carnivore. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is responsible for managing bears in Alaska and for ensuring that management is based on scientific knowledge of the biology of bear populations. Important components of this management effort include maintaining healthy populations of bears throughout Alaska, conservation of bear habitat, prevention of overharvest, and conducting the studies necessary to understand population requirements. As Alaska continues to develop, it is increasingly important for the public to recognize that conserving sufficient amounts of habitat is necessary for brown bears to continue to thrive in Alaska.

Text: Sterling Eide and Sterling Miller
Illustration: R.T. Wallen
Revised by Harry Reynolds and reprinted 1994, website revisions 2003



Polar Bear Photos from our trips to Churchill and Alaska. Polar bears stage for their winter migration

Polar Bear fighting


Alaska Polar Bear Photos

Canada Polar Bear Photos

Polar bears are the largest carnivores and a unique symbol of the Arctic. Nineteen populations of polar bears are distributed in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Norway, and Russia. The world wide population is estimated to be 22,000-25,000 bears. Two populations occur in Alaska: the southern Beaufort Sea stock, shared with Canada; and the Bering Chukchi/Seas stock, shared with the Russian Federation (Range Map)

In Alaska, the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) protects polar bears by prohibiting "take" of polar bears. The MMPA provides for specific exceptions to the prohibition on taking, including a provision that allows Alaska Natives to hunt polar bears for subsistence and the creation of handicrafts.

World wide, polar bear populations remain relatively stable; however, climate change, contamination of the Arctic environment, potential over-harvest, and increasing human development in polar bear habitat pose conservation challenges for polar bears.




Black Bear Photos. Black Bears are a widely distributed species of bear ranging from the Arctic Circle to deserts and mountains of Mexico

Black Bear come in other colors than Black


Black Bear Photos

Black bears (Ursus americanus) are the most abundant and widely distributed of the three species of North American bears. They have been recorded in all states except Hawaii. In Alaska, black bears occur over most of the forested areas of the state. They are not found on the Seward Peninsula, on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, or north of the Brooks Range. They also are absent from some of the large islands of the Gulf of Alaska, notably Kodiak, Montague, Hinchinbrook and others, and from the Alaska Peninsula beyond the area of Lake Iliamma. In Southeast Alaska, black bears occupy most islands with the exceptions of Admiralty, Baranof, Chichagof, and Kruzof. These are inhabited by brown bears. Both species occur on the southeastern mainland. Black bears are most often associated with forests, but depending on the season of the year, they may be found from sea level to alpine areas.

General description: Black bears are the smallest of the North American bears. Adult bears stand about 29 inches (.73 m) at the shoulders and measure about 60 inches (1.5 m) from nose to tail. The tail is about two inches long. Males are larger than females. An average adult male in spring weighs about 180-200 pounds (81.8 to 90.9 kg). They are considerably lighter when they emerge from winter dormancy and may be 20 percent heavier in the fall when they are fat.

The color of this bear over its entire range varies from jet black to white. A very rare white or creamy phase occurs on Kermode Island and vicinity in British Columbia. Three colors are common in Alaska. Black is the most often encountered color, but brown or cinnamon bears are often seen in southcentral Alaska and the southeastern mainland. The rare blue (glacier) phase may be seen in the Yakutat area and has been reported in other parts of Southeast Alaska. Only the black color phase is seen on the islands of Southeast. Black bears may have a patch of white hair on the fronts of their chests.

Black bears are most easily distinguished from brown bears by their straight facial profile and their claws which are sharply curved and seldom over 1½ inches in length. Positive identification can be made by measuring the upper rear molar which is never more than 1¼ inches long in the black bear and is never less than that in a brown bear. Black bears have adequate senses of sight and hearing. They do have, however, an outstanding sense of smell.

Life history: Mating can take place anytime from June through July. Apart from that time, black bears are usually solitary, except for sows with cubs. The fertilized egg will not implant in the uterus until the fall. The cubs are born in their dens following a gestation period of about seven months. The cubs are born blind, nearly hairless, and weigh under a pound (.4 kg). Upon emerging from the den in May, they may weigh about 5 pounds (2.3 kg) and are covered with fine wooly hair. They are able to follow their mothers quite well. One to four cubs may be born, but two is most common. Cubs apparently remain with their mothers through the first winter following birth. Bears mature sexually at 3 to 6 years of age, depending upon their environment. In their more southern ranges they will breed every other year unless a litter is lost early during the first summer, then the sow will breed again that year. In more marginal environments such as northern Alaska, black bears keep their cubs with them an extra year and will breed every third year.

Food habits: Black bears are creatures of opportunity when it comes to food. There are, however, certain patterns of food-seeking which they follow. Upon emergence in the spring, freshly sprouted green vegetation is their main food item, but they will eat nearly anything they encounter. Winter-killed animals are readily eaten, and in some areas black bears have been found to be effective predators on newborn moose calves. As summer progresses, feeding shifts to salmon if they are available. In areas without salmon, bears rely primarily on vegetation throughout the year. Berries, especially blueberries, are an important late summer-fall food item. Ants, grubs, and other insects help to round out the black bear's diet. Male bears may occasionly prey on their own young.

Winter dormancy: As with brown bears, black bears spend the winter months in a state of hibernation. Their body temperatures drop, their metabolic rate is reduced, and they sleep for long periods. Bears enter this dormancy period in the fall, after most food items become hard to find. They emerge in the spring when food is again available. Occasionally, in the more southern ranges, bears will emerge from their dens during winter. In the northern part of their range, bears may be dormant for as long as seven to eight months. Females with cubs usually emerge later than lone bears. Dens may be found from sea level to alpine areas. They may be located in rock cavities, hollow trees, self-made excavations, even on the ground.

Human use: At one time black bears were classified as furbearers and were heavily used as such. Now there is a growing appreciation for them as a meat and trophy animal. Black bears are so common and widely distributed that they often cause damage at homesteads, construction camps, or even in towns and are destroyed as nuisance animals. These depredation kills can be minimized or eliminated if garbage and other food items which attract bears to camps or residences are eliminated. In some areas of Alaska, black bears are a traditional subsistence food. In the community of Huslia, for instance, hibernating bears are killed, cooked, and eaten by the men and boys of the community in a traditional dinner.

The best bear hunting areas are probably from the tidal areas in Prince William Sound southward through the panhandle of Alaska. In these areas, bears are spotted from boats as they forage on the beach. Early May through early June is usually the best time for such hunting. The pelts of spring black bears make beautiful trophies if taken before they start to rub.

If bear flesh is used for human food, it must be well-cooked as Alaska bears have been known to have trichinosis. This disease is transmitted by eating infected meat that is not cooked thoroughly.

Danger to humans: Bears are extremely powerful animals and potentially dangerous to humans. They are usually highly cautious and secretive, but if they have a food supply, they may defend it against all intruders. Every year, bears are found in Alaska'a biggest cities — in downtown Juneau, Anchorage and Fairbanks. Encounters with humans, especially near garbage dumps and fish drying racks, frequently occur. Sows with cubs must always be respected. A rule of thumb is never to come between or near a mother bear and her young.

Normally, these bears snort in a characteristic way and move off. They have, however, attacked without apparent provocation. Several persons have been victims of these unprovoked attacks. In general, all bears should be considered as potentially dangerous and should be treated with respect. Black bears that appear unafraid of humans and will allow people to approach closely should be treated with utmost caution.

Text: Loyal Johnson

Stock Photos of grizzly bears,brown bears,black bears and polar bear in Yellowstone,Alaska,canada,montana,wyoming,montana,idaho,colorado and utah.

Images and design protected by U.S. And international copyright laws. No right is given to save or Download any images or components of this site unless written permission is granted by Jess Lee Photography.
Licensing for use can be arranged by contacting :  jess@jessleephotos.com






Stock Photos of grizzly bears,brown bears,black bears and polar bear in Yellowstone,Alaska,canada,montana,wyoming,montana,idaho,colorado and utah.




Images and design protected by U.S. And international copyright laws. No right is given to save or Download any images or components of this site unless written permission is granted by Jess Lee Photography.
Licensing for use can be arranged by contacting :  jess@jessleephotos.com