Alaskan Brown Bears, Part VI — Agro’s Cubs Go All Out
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Yesterday I posted about Brown Bear cubs’ propensity for play. Today, I’m posting about one particular set of cubs — yearling triplets belonging to the sow named “Agro” — and their all out play that we witnessed one morning.
By the end of our stay with the bears Agro and her cubs had become a familiar sight. She and her cubs were constant visitors to the beach and the adjacent grass. The cubs are highly mischievous and they often seemed to be more interested in wild play than in eating.
One morning we were on the mud flats at low tide as we witnessed Agro bring her cubs out to the flats in order to dig for clams. Agro was intent on eating and she more or less ignored her cubs for a while.
The cubs had no desire to go clamming. At first, two of them decided to play “King of the Mountain” by seizing control over and contesting possession of a large dead tree lying on the beach.
One of them took an aggressive stance and challenged his or her siblings to push him or her off the tree.
That phase of play didn’t last for very long. Evidently, the cubs decided that the attraction of getting soaking wet and mud-covered surpassed that of playing on a dry beach. We watched as two of the cubs collided like sumo wrestlers, trying to knock each other off balance.
Eventually, one cub succeeded in pushing the other to the sand. The next phase of play consisted of the “victor” of the sumo match jumping on the other cub and engaging in mock biting.
The victim of the feigned attack was not thrilled about this phase of play.
Soon, he or she extricated himself or herself and sumo wrestling resumed, now fiercer than ever.
And so it went, for more than one-half hour. Finally, just when one would have thought that these cubs were exhausted, one challenged another to a footrace and there ensued a mad dash. The cubs raced in a large circle using us as their midpoint. They went around twice before quitting.
We have a tendency when we observe animals to forget that fun is not a human invention. These playful bears are a reminder of the reality that they, and other species as well, enjoy life just as much as we do.
Images made with a Canon 5Div, 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 ISII zoom lens, aperture priority setting, all images shot at ISO 640. The first image, f6.3 @ 1/1600. The second, f5.6 @ 1/1000. The third, f63 @ 1/1250. The fourth, f6.3 @ 1/800. The fifth, sixth, and seventh, f6.3 @ 1/1000. The eighth, f6.3 @ 1/5000.