Sunday, July 8, 2018

Queen of McNeil Falls - McNeil River Sanctuary, Alaska

During the summer salmon run at McNeil River Falls, prime fishing spots are normally occupied by the large dominant males. But that is not always the case. A beautiful bear called Ivory Girl was a rare female bear fishing at the falls among the large males. Unlike most bears, Ivory Girl has stunning white claws on all four paws. She was a frequent visitor to the falls during my visit and had the best fishing skills!

Ivory Girl stood in the middle of a cascade at the falls, always facing downstream as she waited for fish to swim upstream. She stared intently at the rushing water waiting patiently for the salmon to swim within striking range. 

Ivory Girl's fishing technique was to allow the salmon to jump upstream and settle in a small pool where she would quickly snatch the fish with her powerful jaws. Ivory Girl preferred to eat the skin, brain, and eggs—the fattiest parts of a salmon—with so many fish available. She continuously caught fish after fish and was one of the best fishers at McNeil River Falls!

Here is Ivory Girl fishing among larger bears. Those male bears did not mind her presence, they just let her stay at the premium spot as long as she wanted.

Ivory Girl scratches her muzzle and back at the same time, at her resting spot near her fishing hole.

As for her sassy presence, or good fishing skills, Ivory Girl is one of the favorite bears for many visitors and guides. I could not help it but often focused on her during my visit.

Next posting will be my last story from McNeil River Sanctuary.  Please check back in 2-3 weeks!