Nursing Bears

Ron Niebrugge Alaska, Lake Clark, Photos, Travel Leave a Comment

A sow nursing two cubs, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska.

A sow nursing two cubs, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska.

Here is another one from August.  Experiencing this behavior up close never gets old!  This was actually on the grounds of the lodge I use for my Alaska Bear Photo Tours!  We had returned to our cabins for a quick break when she showed up and began nursing!  One of my guests (who will remained unnamed) was actually just getting out of the shower when he heard the familiar “purring” sounds the cubs make while nursing, and instantly knew what he was missing.  It was some sight seeing him coming out of his cabin with camera gear in hand – wearing just his underwear!  Witnessing this event was well worth the teasing from the group.  🙂

I like how sows will often use their forward legs to make somewhat of a cradle to help contain her cubs – just like you see here.

It might seem strange to hear how she actually came into the  lodge’s yard to nurse.  You see, the sows and their cubs are vulnerable to the larger male bears while nursing.  The males are not nearly as comfortable around people, or the lodge facilities, and often will keep their distance – except during the mating season.  The sows have picked up on this and use it to their advantage.  It isn’t uncommon for them to move closer to people when they are vulnerable like they are when nursing or sleeping.  It makes for a wonderful treat for photography!  Well, except when they are sleeping – they tend to sleep longer and harder when we are nearby since they feel safer.

If you are interested, we only have a couple spots left for next years bear tours.

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