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Friday, September 2, 2011

Time for a bear hug: Wrestling brown grizzlies square off in battle for best fishing spot

By Chris Parsons

When you're roaming next to a river with the largest concentration of brown bears in the world, it can be difficult finding yourself a square meal.

So when these two young grizzlies started to argue over a particularly good fishing spot on the McNeil River on the Alaskan Peninsula, the scrap quickly became heated.

The two Alaskan brown bears were seen rearing up in a show of strength in remarkable wildlife images captured by photographer Rick Sheremeta.

The bears can be seen squaring up to each other on their back legs before wrestling in the river and continuing their scrap in the watery depths.

The McNeil River Game Sanctuary, 100 miles west of Homer, Alaska, attracts almost 150 bears in the summer, with as many as 74 observed at one time.

Photographer Rick said: 'The McNeil River is home to the largest concentration of brown bears in the world thanks to the abundance of salmon at the waterfall.

'But with so many bears there it's inevitable that there will be battles for territory.

'They will usually have a face-off until one backs off submissively. It is quite a sight to behold and could almost be viewed as a strange sort of dance.'

Salmon are slowed in their movements by the falls so congregate there during their upstream migration to spawning grounds.

Since there are few rivers in the area with similar fishing sites, bears congregate annually at the river for an easy meal.

Out of my way: The young bears regularly square off against each other in battles for territory due to their high numbers in Alaska

Face-off: There can be as many as 150 Alaskan brown bears along the McNeil River during the height of summer



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