Sunday, September 7, 2008

Grizzly & Salmon

We went down to the Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage this afternoon. They had announced that they were going to hang salmon in the Bear's enclosure to show how grizzly can leap up to get food. Very cool. The bear had other ideas. They tied a frozen salmon to the end of a backhoe, and maneuvered it up and over the fence to the grizzly habitat. Trust me when I say, this was no easy feat in itself. The bear were interested, but nervous with all of the noise. Finally, the salmon was in place. Siblings Joe Boxer (JB) and Patron checked it out first. They REALLY wanted the fish, but weren't very trusting of the situation.
Maybe this situation needs to be examined from another viewpoint. Hmmmmmm. I think I am figuring this out. It doesn't look that high from here.
Just a nibble. They are SO close, they can taste the yummy salmon. Still, the bear have no interest in jumping today. The bucket above their heads was just too intimidating, so the nice folks at the center tried another method. They took the salmon and attacked it to a thick rope and just tossed it into the enclosure. The idea was that keeping the frozen salmon tied up would allow us to see how they ripped apart and ate the fish. The bear were still on their own agenda. They yanked hard on the rope and broke the fish free, running off into the woods to enjoy their meal.
Along comes Hugo. She is the more timid of the group and had been playing in the pond while the other bear were trying to get the first fish. She came up to discover another fish waiting just for her.
After a few tugs at the rope, she just sat down and started eating the Salmon. Check out the size of her claws.
It was a very interesting afternoon at the Wildlife Center. The people working there really know about the animals and are very friendly and informative. If you are ever in Alaska, this is the first place you need to visit. This is the only place you are guaranteed to see Alaskan wildlife in it's natural setting. For more information about the center, check out their web site.

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