Year First Identified: 2001 as 3.5 year-old subadult
Known Litters of Cubs: 7, including 2 litters of 4 spring cubs!!!
Genetics Study Samples Obtained: 402 was successfully sampled in 2005 and 2006 when both hair (via hair snare) and tissue (via darting) samples were obtained by former wildlife biologist Tamara Olson. 402 was successfully darted by Ranger Michael Saxton in 2016.
A large female, 402 has a short, dark blonde or brown coat of fur. Her face is crescent shaped with a straight profile and her ears are oval or slightly triiangualr in shape and erect. In July, she often has long fur under her muzzle that resembles a goatee. During the fall months, her fur is brown and grizzled.
Watch this Meet Bear 402 video by Mike Fitz, Resident Naturalist with Explore.org to learn identification and distinctive behaviors that will help you identify 402.
402 is often seen at Brooks Falls in July whre she fishes the lip of the falls and will sometimes dive for salmon in the jacuzzi. She is among the few females who will fish at Brooks Falls with spring cubs. In the fall, she often fishes the lower Brooks River and in the lake.
Late 1990's: Dependent Offspring
402 first came to the Brooks River with her mother, 209 Beauty, in the late 1990's and has returned to the river every year since.
2001: 3.5 Year-Old Subadult, 1st Year Identified
402 was first identified as an independent subadult at the age of 3.5 years-old in 2001.
2002: 4.5 Year-Old Subadult
2002.07.07-07.10: Park visitor Lewie Barber captured this video at Brooks Camp between 7/7-7/10/2002. A 4.5 year old 402 can be seen in the riffles entering the frame from the left at 3:27. The identification of 402 was confirmed by Mike Fitz on 6/8/2020.
2003: 5.5 Year-Old Single Adult Female
402 mated with 24 BB (aka Bald Butt). DNA confirmation has been obtained that 24 BB (aka Bald Butt) is also 402's father.
2004: Adult Female with 2 Spring Cubs, 1st Known Litter, 858 Artie & 859 Stella
402 returned to Brooks River with 2 spring cubs , 1 male and 1 female, her 1st known litter. These offspring were identified and classified as indenpendent subadults in 2006. The male was 858 Artie and the female was 859 Stella. DNA confirmed that 24 BB is the father of 858 Artie and 859. 24 BB is also 402's father, making 24 BB also the grandfather of 858 Artie & 859. 858 Artie was recorded using the Brooks River 2006-2010. 859 Stella was recorded during 2006 only.
Park visitor and cam viewer, Cog shared these two photos from his trip to Brooks Camp: Photo #1 402 (?) with 2 spring cubs and Photo #2 of the two spring cubs only . Cog shared a 2004 photo of 402 on 4/14/2020.
Please request Cog's permission prior to using his photographs!
2005: Adult Female with 2 Yearlings, 858 Artie & 859 Stella
402 returned to the Brooks River with her two yearings from her 2004 litter.
402 and her two yearlings (858 Artie and 859 Stella) can be seen fishing the lip of Brooks Falls in this video by Safari-Nordique R et M-C BUGAULT:
2005.07.14: This 7/14/2005 photo by George Georgiou appears to be 402 and her 2 yearlings 858 Artie and 859 Stella.
2005.07.16: DaceF captured photos of a sow with 2 yearlings on the lip on 7/16/2005. In photo #1, 402 is seen on the lip by herself. In photo #2, 402 is observed with her 2 yearlings 858 Artie and 859 Stella. On 8/29/2019, Mike Fitz confirmed the identifications.
2006.05.27: 402 was observed on May 27, 2006 with her two 2.5 year old cubs from her 2004 litter, but was then observed without them later in the season. These cubs were given the numbers 858 Artie and 859 Stella. 858 was recorded using the Brooks River from 2006-2010 and 859 was recorded in 2006 only. Former Ranger Jeanne supplied this information in a chat comment in 2018. This 7/19/2008 photo by Ranger Jeanne is identified as "Artie (standing) and 218 Ugly."
In 2007, 402 arrived at Brooks River with a single spring cub, her 2nd known litter, but soon lost it. 402 was observed on July 8, 2007 without the spring cub. 402 went back into estrus soon after the loss of this cub, and was observed being pursued by several male bears, most prominently 218 Ugly.
2007.07.08 or prior: This video by Hwaing Hsu from early July 2007 appears to be 402 catching a fish with her spring cub nearby. A 2nd video by Hwaing Hsu shows 402 catching a fish by the lower river bridge during a salmon boil. Mike Fitz commented on the video on 6/25/2019 and said "Yeah, that could be 402. That is an impressive fish boil."
2007.07.10: Steve Agrella captured 2 photos, #1 and #2, of a bear that appears to be 402 on 7/10/2007. If this is 402, it was after she had lost her spring cub. 402 went back into estrus soon after the loss of this cub, and was observed being pursued by several male bears, most prominently 218 Ugly.
2008: Adult Female with 3 Spring Cubs, 3rd known Litter
If females lose their cubs early in the year as 402 did in 2007, they may mate and produce cubs the next summer. This happend to 402, in 2008 she returned to Brooks River with three spring cubs, her 3rd known litter.
In a 2008 video by Mark Emery, 402 is near the BrooksFalls platform and her 3 cubs are treed. The cubs climb down and the family leaves the falls area. The footage can be viewed from 2:33-3:04.
2008.07.??: 402 and her 3 cubs can be seen by the platform at Brooks Falls in this July, 2008 video by ebrewer333.
2008.07.26-07.29: Park visitor Jim Chagares photographed 402 and her 3 spring cubs between 7/26-7/29/2008, photo #'s 102-117, 169-180 and 191-199. Mike Fitz confirmed the identification from photos on a now inactive Flickr site . They can now be seen on Jim Chagare's website .
402 returned to Brooks River with three yearlings from her 2008 litter.
2009.06.26: Park visitor, foreseit, captured 402 and her 3 yearlings in this video :
Please request Michael's / M. B Crawley Photography's permission prior to using his photograph!
2009.06.26: Park visitor foreseit captured 402 and her 3 yearlings from 0:00-5:05 in this 7/26/2009 video. Note: 402 and her yearlings were not known to be called "The Stanleys" by NPS.
2009.07.??: Casey Anderson was at Brooks Camp in July of 2009 to film for National Geographic when he captured this video where 402 with her 3 yearlings and 438 Flo with her two 2.5 year old cubs appear in the beginning of it. (Note: the names used in the National Geographic video are not the official nicknames used by the park). 2009.07.??: July 2009 video of 402 nursing her yearlings by Peter Thiemann:
2009.07.??: At about the 30 second mark into this flickr video by Peter Thiemann 402 and 409 are both on the lip with 402's 2008 litter. You can see how much bigger 402 is than 409, who is herself a large sow. 409 Beadnose can be heard growling at 402 in this video.
2009.07.19: Ranger Jeanne's photo of 402's yearlings.
2009.08.07: Park visitor, Peter Thiemann, captured this video of 402 nursing her 3 yearlings. (Note the video is on Peter's flickr which is not able to be linked to play on 402's wiki page)
2009.09.18: Wholeworldgonecrazy captured this 9/18/2009 video with 402 and her large yearlings seen from 0:00-1:21 and 2:07-2:31.
July 2010:2010.07.08: 402 mated with 218 Ugly and 856 on the evening of July 8, 2010. Brooks Camp's July 9, 2010 tweet .:
2011: Adult Female with 3 Spring Cubs, 4th Known Litter
402 returned to Brooks River with 3 spring cubs
Park visitor Dan Leffel captured some fantastic Summer 2011 images of 402 with her 3 spring cubs beginning at approximately 8:24-9:07 in this video :
402 with her 3 spring cubs can be seen in this 2011 video by IndianaStateU from 0:51-1:12.
402 and her 3 spring cubs are seen in an early season video by Ruebeena Bokhari.
2011.07.12: Park visitor Mark Nicholas captured this video during his trip to Brooks Camp. 402 and her 3 spring cubs can be seen from 0:07-0:24 and 0:47-2:48.
Sometime after Mark Nicholas' video above, in July 2011, after a prolonged confrontation with 856, 402 and her smallest cub became separated. During this time, the cub was completely defenseless. 856 later returned to the falls and killed the cub. (The video below does not show 856 killing the cub.)
This July 31, 2011 blog post: My Adventures in Alaska documents this story. Curiously, 856 was seen mating with 402 in 2010. Therefore, he could have potentially killed his own offspring.
2011.07.?? Oliviayhu captured 2 videos of 402 fishing at Brooks Falls after the loss of her smallest spring cub. In the first video, 402 is seen fishing the lip while her 2 spring cubs sit on the bank. In the 2nd video, 402 has caught a fish which she is eating in front of the platform. The cubs rush over to try to get some fish. 402 appears quite thin.
2011.09.08: Ranger Jeanne observed 402 with her 2 remaining spring cubs on 9/8/2011, photo by Ranger Jeanne.
2011.09.25: By September 25, 2011 402 had lost another spring cub from this litter. Ranger Jeanne captured this 9/25/2011 photo of the remaining spring cub outside of the Brooks Camp visitor center.
402 was included in the 2012 Bears of Brooks Camp iBook:
402 lost her only remaining cub from her 2011 litter by spring of 2012, and returned to the Brooks River area as a single female in 2012.
2013: Adult Female with 3 Spring Cubs, 5th known litter
402 and her three spring cubs (503 Cubadult is believed to be one of them) can be seen in this video by Kara Stenberg. 409 Beadnose and her 3 yearlings (500 Indy and 717 are believed to be two of them) are the 1st sow and cubs seen in the video. Footage of 402 and her 3 spring cubs (503 Cubadult) begins at 1:39 and continues at 2:18. 89 Backpack and 32 Chunk can be seen beginning at 3:08.
402 and her 3 spring cubs can be seen near the falls in this 2013 season video by Matt Hirt. Matt Hirt shared this information about his video .:
"Hi SnowCrane, glad you were enjoying it...what an amazing place! I'm fortunate to have visited twice and the footage here is a combination of both years. The first half was shot in 2010 and shows (I believe) bear 608 (with 2 small spring cubs) and 438 Flo (on sand spit with two very large cubs). The second half (change of music) was shot in 2013 and you are absolutely correct, that is 402 with her 3 spring cubs. As you probably know, 2 of these little guys didn't return from hibernation in 2014 and the remaining one (503) became a "bear celebrity" of sorts after 402 abandoned him as a yearling and he was later adopted by 435 Holly."
2013.07.09: Rebecca Latson , Where the Trails Take you Photography , captured multiple photos of 402 and her 3 spring cubs on 7/9/2013. Photos #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14, #15 and #16.
2013.07.10: GCphotoproductions captured 3 photos of 402 and her 3 spring cubs on 7/10/2013, #1 402 with 3 spring cubs,#2 402 with 2 of 3 spring cubs and #3 402 with 3 spring cubs on the point. GCphotoproductions also filmed a 7/10/2013 video where 402 and her 3 spring cubs can be viewed from 1:16-1:33.
SandyK29 captured a 7/10/2019 photo of 402 and her 3 spring cubs in camp.
2013.07.13: SandyK29 photographed 402 and her 3 spring cubs on 7/13/2013, photos #1 and #2. Sandy noted that "This sow and her three cubs liked to hang out near our cabin at Brook's Lodge. They would go down to the beach and then head up through the grassy area right in front of our cabin."
2013.07.16 Approximately 18:40:
Two of 402's spring cubs wash over Brooks Falls video by MsDebbiB. Adult female, 813 Nostril Bear is the bear below the falls that 402 has the interaction with:Explore also provided this highlight video of the event: Wild Nature Videos provided this footage :
402 and her 3 spring cubs after the 2 cubs wash over the falls. Video by Gusty Stambaugh:
On July 17, 2013 Ranger Mike Fitz was able to watch the video footage of 402's spring cubs going over the falls and shared the following comment :
"I just got a chance to watch the video of 402’s cubs getting swept over the falls. These cams really give great insight into the dramas of nature.
402 will regularly fish the lip of the falls, even when she is caring for cubs. She is unconsciously weighing the risks of fishing at Brooks Falls versus the reward of food. There may be many other places along Brooks River to fish, but at this time of year none are typically as rewarding as Brooks Falls.
As many of you know, cubs do face many risks in their young lives. In the video, the cubs are swept over the falls as they attempt to follow their mother into the river. Spring cubs (also called cubs of the year) cannot swim nearly as well as an adult bear. The current was too strong for them and they were swept over.
One bear standing below the falls noticeably reacts to the cubs in the water. Just before the cubs were swept over, the bear was facing away from them. It appears that the other bear reacted to the objects washing over the falls. Bears are adapted to take advantage of situations where food is provided to them. If, for example, a beaver had washed over the falls then the bear might also have attacked it.
All of the bears at the falls were once small cubs like 402’s current litter and they all faced the same risks. 402’s protectiveness may have saved one or more of her offspring last night. When you are watching nature’s drama unfold at the falls, be prepared to witness some harsh realities."
2013.07.20: 402 with her 3 spring cubs (503 Cubadult is one of them) video by MsDebbiB.:
2019.07.21: 402 is seen with 1 of her 3 spring cubs in this 7/21/2013 photo by Andrew Hall.
Ranger Jeanne captured this 7/21/2013 photo of one of 402's spring cubs.
2013.07.23: 402 with her 3 spring cubs video by Live Video & Webcams of the World:
2013.07.26 - 2013.07.27: Footage of 402 and her 3 spring cubs begins at approximately the 0:12 mark into this video by Alaska. The family can be seen through 2:09. 503 Cubadult is one of these offspring.:
Juergen created this gif of 402 and her spring cubs.
2013.07.27: 402 and her 3 spring cubs are seen walking under the viewing platform in this 7/27/2013 video by Eiji Takeshima.
2013.08.04 or prior: In a Justin Gibson video published on 8/4/2013, 402 is seen walking under the platform with all 3 spring cubs, 0:57-1:04.
A 2nd video by Justin Gibson published on 1/4/2016, shows 402 playing in a grassy area with 2 of her spring cubs. It is assumed that this video is also from the same 2013 trip to Brooks Falls.
2013.09.?? 402 lost one of these spring cubs in September 2013 when the cub was fatally injured up near Lake Brooks.
2013.09.25: Ranger Roy Wood & Ranger Mike Fitz discuss the cub that was killed near Lake Brooks, possibly 402's missing spring cub, in this September 25, 2013 live chat beginning at approximately 07:00 into this video . At approximately 15:25 into the video they state that the deceased cub weighed 63.5 pounds.:
2013.10.02: Linda R. Jett captured this 10/2/2013 video of 402 and her remaining 2 spring cubs feeding in the riffles.
In a 2nd 10/2/2013 video by Linda R. Jett, 402 and 1 of her 2 spring cubs are seen fishing at the falls. 402 is observed diving in the jacuzzi multiple times but only catching a fish on the 2nd attempt. The dives are at 1:36, 2:05 🐟, 2:59, 3:23 and 3:35.
2013.10.11: In this 10/11/2013 video by Linda R. Jett, 402 and her remaining 2 spring cubs are seen in the riffles area, scavenging salmon before going to den.
2013.10.31: 402 with her two remaining spring cubs video by Linda Jett:
2013.11.03: Possibly 402 with her two remaining spring cubs video by Linda Jett:
2013.11.05 or prior: One of 402's remaining spring cubs can be seen sliding off the falls in the beginning of this Explore video posted on 11/5/2013 or earlier. 402 rushes out to the cub and can be seen jaw popping or possibly calling her 2nd cub.
402 lost a second cub prior to returning to the Brooks River area in 2014. 503 Cubadult was the surviving spring cub from this litter.
402 was included in the 2014 Bears of Brooks River book on page 35:
In June 2014, 402 returned to Brooks River with one cub remaining from her 2013 litter. That cub became known as 503 Cubadult in 2014.
2014.06.22: 402 returned to Brooks Camp with 503, her one remaining yearling from her 2013 litter of three spring cubs. The family group was captured in this video by Various Videos1 (aka LucyB-MA):
402 and yearling (now known as 503 Cubadult) gifs by Juergen:
2014.06.26: 402 returning to Brooks Camp with one remaining yearling prompted Michael Fitz, Visual Information Specialist in Katmai, to elaborate on the dangers cubs face: “Cubs in Katmai have a high mortality rate, especially in their first year. As many as 2/3 of cubs may not survive their first summer. As you can imagine, cubs face many risks in their young lives and while we do not know how #402 lost two of her three cubs it could be any number of natural risks: drowning, falling out of trees, undernourishment, getting lost or other bears. These are just some of the risks these young bears face.”
2014.06.27 - 2014.06.29: Ranger Jeanne observed 402 with her remaining male yearling at Brooks Camp. Ranger Jeanne has the following photos of 503 when he was 402's dependent yearling on her flicker: 402's dependent yearling 06/29/2014 and 402's dependent yearlings 06/29/2014
2014.06.29: 402 NPS photo from Katmai Terrane Blog: Previously On Bearcam published June 23, 2015:
July 2014:2014.07.??: 402 and her remaining yearling (now known as 503 Cubadult), still bonded as a family group, can be seen in this video by 117jmg from the 3:27 - 3:45 and 4:31 - 4:50 marks:
2014.07.??: 503 was photographed shaking off water by Alexey Tishchenko in July 2014. Alexey's photos can be seen in: Wild Thing! The grizzly bear that likes to boogie by Benjamin Russell
FUR-iller: boogying bear practices iconic dance routine by Caters News Agency
2014.07.??: Jimmie Robinson captured video of 402 and her remaining yearling (now known as 503 Cubadult) fishing the lip at Brooks Falls. In the beginning of the footage (6:33-, the yearling can be seen clinging to the wall as he is struggling not to wash over the falls.
2014.07.??: In a July photo by Laura Lyn Photography 402 is seen with her yearling on top of the fish ladder by Brooks Falls.
402's remaining cub from her 2013 litter, now a yearling, was separated from 402 for extended periods of time and was eventually abandoned wthile 856 courted and mated with 402 in July 2014.
2014.07.01: 402 and yearling are seen at the mouth of Brooks River on July 1, 2014."July 1, 2014 was a stressful day for rangers and one yearling cub at Brooks Camp. Around 10 AM bear #402 became separated from her cub near the mouth of the Brooks River. The yearling walked and ran to Brooks Lodge and climbed a tree just outside of the lodge. The cub was not reunited with its mother until 8:15 PM.
Several rangers and I had the fortune (or misfortune after several hours) of watching the cub in the tree. The cub was so close to the buildings at Brooks Lodge that people could not use the lodge bathhouse or access several cabins. The cub was less than 50 yards from the back door of the lodge kitchen and dining hall.
What happened? Where was the cub’s mother? Bear 402 and her yearling cub were at the mouth of the Brooks River fishing around 10 AM. The yearling cub swam across the river as 402 fished downstream. 402 lost track of the cub and did not know where it was. The cub didn’t seem to know where its mother was either. 402 began searching for the cub on the opposite side of the river. Shortly after the family was separated, 402 disappeared into the forest at the mouth of the Brooks River. By this time, the yearling cub had wandering to Brooks Lodge and climbed a tree. With 402 nowhere in sight and her cub treed in camp, rangers were in a bit of jam.
Contrary to popular belief brown bears can climb trees. I have seen cubs and adult bears do it. Brown bears are not likely to climb trees when threatened, but they can and sometimes do. When a bear climbs a tree, it won’t climb down until it no longer feels threatened. With a few hundred people moving by Brooks Lodge, the cub was likely not coming down anytime soon.
Bears have climbed trees at Brooks Lodge before, but those situations are usually short in duration. Typically, rangers have to keep people away from the bear and it will climb down and depart in short order. Having a lone cub treed in camp with no mother to be found was unprecedented. Our initial hope was that 402 would catch the cub’s scent and track it into camp. Mother bears will call their cubs down out of trees with a huff. This time, 402 was missing in action.
The cub was very high in the tree. We knew it was stressed. There is no way to get it out of the tree. It had to come down on its own. However, people still want to walk around the lodge and they still want to eat lunch. Brooks Lodge staff still has to meet airplanes on the beach only 100 yards (91 m) away and move luggage to the lodge with a vehicle less than 50 yards (46 m) from the treed cub. Unfortunately, it was not feasible to shut the camp down for the cub. All the noise and people likely kept the cub in the tree—for hours.
Around 5:30 PM, the cub decided to climb down the tree. Rangers instructed people to enter buildings, stay out of the cub’s line of sight, and give it space to go on it’s way. Any noise could startle the cub and cause it climb to the tree again. Spreading that message is hard though. As the cub got to the base of the tree, a plane started its engine and spooked the cub. It climbed back up the tree and stayed there. Remember, the cub climbed the tree around 10 AM.
Around 6 PM, the cub climbed down the tree again. This time it was not startled by people or engines and left the lodge area on it’s own. Its mother was still nowhere to be found. The cub walked along the beach away from the lodge and toward the campground. Perhaps uncomfortable without its mother, it soon returned to the lodge and climbed a tree.
I felt sympathy for the cub, but I was frustrated by the situation.There was essentially nothing we could do to coax the cub down and away from the buildings. This was clearly a place where it felt some comfort and safety. Otherwise it would not have returned. We couldn’t do anything more than watch and wait.Finally around 8 PM, the cub came out of the tree. 402 whereabouts were still unknown. Several rangers worked hard to keep people inside of buildings. No planes were on the beach and the cub had free reign. Still, it was alone. It wanted its mother. It tried to return to the lodge, but eventually left that area and walked back to the river.
Shortly after it reached the river it began to bawl. Cubs bawl when they are hungry or otherwise trying to get mother’s attention. This was something it rarely did in the tree. The bawling clearly got the attention of one bear that swam across the river towards it. When I heard that another bear was approaching the cub, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The other bear could ignore it, kill it, or scare it back to the lodge.
To my amazement, the bear that was approaching the cub was 402, his mother. She must have been near the mouth of the river and heard the cub’s bawling. After 10 hours of separation, they were finally back together. The family was last seen moving upriver into the forest.This was a happy ending for the family, but it highlights the challenges of managing people and bears at Brooks Camp. The facilities at Brooks Camp—lodge, employee housing, and visitor center—are located in perfect bear habitat. It is difficult to reconcile the different needs of people and bears. The situation may have resolved itself sooner if we were not around. At minimum, the bear would have been able to move freely without our interference.
But, Brooks Camp is a place for people too. A cub in a tree near the lodge is not a simple matter to deal with and the camp can’t shut down for the sake of the cub. When you watch the bearcams or visit Katmai, think about our relationship with the animals as well as how a park should be used and managed. Parks are for people and well as wildlife and ecosystems. For generations, people have been debating how to balance the needs of people and animals. In a place like Brooks Camp, the needs of people and wildlife are bared for all to see. How do you provide for the needs of people at a place like Brooks Camp and give bears the space they need to survive?"
19:55: Watch 402 and her yearling cub being reuntied on the bank of Brooks River in this Explore Documentary Film .
Explore also created this video that is similar to the version above...except this version also includes snips of Ranger Roy's and cam viewer's comments as they were watching this amazing event unfold. I doubt you will be sorry if you invest the time to watch both.:
2014.07.02: The challenges NPS staff and park visitors faced on 07/01/2014 when 402's yearling treed himself for nearly ten hours less than 50 yards from the back door of the lodge kitchen and dining hall in close proximity to many Brooks Lodge buildings prompted Ranger Mike Fitz to share this KNP&P Terrane blog: The Challenges of Managing Bears and People at Brooks Camp by Ranger Mike Fitz .
2014.07.04: Ranger Jeanne's photo of 402 with yearling
2014.07.08: Stmango's video of 402 and 503 together at the falls on 07/08/2014:
Cam viewer Janie Nook captured this video of 402's male yearling as he learns from 402 while she fishes the lip of the falls on 7/8/2014.
Bud Marschner captured these photos (#1 & #2 ) of 402 and her remaining yearling (503) on July 8, 2014. Bud Marschner describes the first as a family portrait, of course not realizing they would be some of the last portraits of the family group. Bud also captured this photo of 435 Holly and her spring cub (719) the day before the photos of 402 and yearling 503.
2014.07.09: On the night of 07/09/2014, 402's remaining male yearling (503) was observed in a spruce tree approximately 100 meters behind the Brooks Falls wildlife viewing platform. (see Ranger Mike's 07/11/2014 12:28 comments snips below)
It is possible that this video captured by park visitors, laddnshirl is footage from the last time that 856 separated 402 from her 1.5 year-old yearling (now known as 503).
2014.07.10: On the morning of 07/10/2014, 402's remaining male yearling (503) was observed in the same tree approximately 100 meteres behind the Brooks Falls wildlife viewing platform that he was observed in on the night of 07/09/2014. The yearling was still in the tree at 21:00 on 07/10/2014 (see Ranger Mike;s 07/11/2014 12:28 comments snips below). When Ranger Mike walked by the area of the tree around 22:00 on 07/10/2014, he did hear the cub bawling a little.
2014.07.11: On the morning of 07/11/2014, 402's remaining male yearling (503) was no longer in the tree 100 meters behind the Brooks Falls wildlife viewing platform. 856 is still following 402 and the whereabouts of 402's remaining male yearling is not known.
Ranger Mike Fitz comments on 07/11/2014 at 12:28 about what has been observed of 402, her remaining male yearling (503), and 856 from 07/09/2014 - 07/11/2014:
Ranger Mike also shared this 07/11/2014 KNP&P blog: Surprises of the Bear World.
2014.07.13: Ranger Jeanne comments that she has no new information on 402's remaining yearling (503), but she has observed 402 twice this morning being pursued by 856. Ranger Jeanne said that 402 is ranging about half mile down river from the falls since she observed 856 pursuing 402 in the oxbow area. When asked if in her experience she would say that 402's remaining yearling was on his own to survive, Ranger Jeanne replied that she has never seen a sow without one of her cubs for such a long period of time and then experienced them reuniting. Ranger Jeanne said she has also never observed a male bear pursue a female in the way that resembles courting while she still had a dependent cub. She said she observed 402 quite a bit this weekend, but never with her cub. She said it does not necessarily mean that the cub is definitely on its own, but Ranger Jeanne did not personally see them together.
Ranger Mike updates the Surprises of the Bear World KNP&P blog from 07/11/2014.
"856 was still following 402 on Sunday (07/13/2014). Reports of 856 following a different female may have been erroneous.
I watched 402’s former yearling cub wander through Brooks Camp alone at 8 AM this morning. A ranger also reported seeing it alone on Saturday morning (07/12/2014). 402 appears to have abandoned this cub. Why? I don’t know. Bears might abandon their cubs if the cubs are too weak to keep up or if the mother can’t devote the energy needed to support the cubs. I also don’t know if this cub is truly abandoned. Although very rare, mother bears have been separated from their cubs for over 2 weeks before reuniting. We haven’t observed 402 abandon a cub before, but this behavior is not unprecedented amongst brown bears.
It’s also important to note that 856 showed no interest in the yearling during the past week. His actions indicate that he is interested in mating with 402. He was never seen chasing the yearling or even investigating the yearling when it was treed near Brooks Falls. His consistent pursuit of 402 certainly didn’t help the yearling, but he may not have been the reason for its abandonment. 402 may have gone into estrus and abandoned the yearling anyway.
Is 402 a “bad” mother for abandoning her yearling? It would seem so from a human perspective, but we cannot define or label bears with our system of cultural norms, ethics, and morals. Bears and wild animals exist in a world outside of these things. 402 doesn’t have the ability to control her estrus cycle, no more so than a woman can. If she went back into estrus (which appears likely now), then 856 or any other adult male would be looking to mate with her. She would be unable to care for a cub while being closely pursued by a dominant adult male.
402’s former yearling cub should now be called a subadult bear since it is now appears to be on its own.It faces an uphill battle to survive this summer."
2014.07.16 Approximately 16:00: Ranger Sheri Anderson, KNP&P Wildlife Biologist observes 503 eating a fish on the trail to the campground that he caught himself and captured this photo:
You can see Ranger Roy show the photo from Ranger Sheri's phone at approximately 38:00 into this live chat video from 07/16/2014:
2014.07.17: 435 Holly and her spring cub (719) were observed on the lower river cam alone (503 was not with them at this time), gif by Juergen can be viewed here .
402 and 856 were observed mating per Ranger Mike's 07/22/2014 comment:
"Last night (07/21/2014) Ranger Jeanne hinted that I had some news to share. I’d like to watch the speculation run wild, but you don’t need to be on the edge any longer than necessary.
First of all, it is not about 489 Ted. We still haven’t seen him. The news that I have isn’t that earth shattering. In fact, for those of you following the bears closely over the past two weeks, it might be an expected event.
Last Sunday (07/20/2014), 856 and 402 mated near Brooks Falls. This confirms what many of us suspected – that 402 was in estrus. Like I’d written about previously, this is odd because she still had a yearling cub to attend to until it was left to fend for itself around July 9. Bears are full of surprises though.
I would be even more surprised if 402 reunites with her former cub, now a 1.5-year-old subadult bear, since she has mated. For now, I’m going to assume she’ll follow the “typical” pattern for a single adult female and go her own way. The 1.5-year-old will have to fend for itself (by the way, we haven’t seen that bear in a few days to the best of my knowledge)."
Let’s not forget about 856 and his need either. He followed 402 for about 11 days waiting for the opportunity to mate. As a very dominant bear, he can take advantage of these situations because no other bear has challenged him for females this summer. He’s much thinner, however, than other large males like 747 and 814 Lurch, so 856 was sacrificing weight for the opportunity to sire more offspring."
Park visitor, Tim Auer was in the perfect place at the perfect time (just like CalliopeJane always seems to be) and not only observed 402 and 856 mating, but he also captured some incredible photographs of the mating pair . After returning from his trip to Brooks Camp, Tim Auer posted in the bearcam comments to share the experience You can see more of Tim Auer's photos (here) , and read his blog about his observations of 402 and 856 mating on his blog at this link: After Hours: The Story of 856 and 402 by Tim Auer Katmai After Hours: The Story of 856 and 402 by Tim Auer . Tim's friend and fellow wildlife photographer, Meril, was also with him when 402 and 856 were observed mating. You can view Meril's photos here .
In a 7/20/2018 Explore blog titled "How does a bear family break up", Mike Fitz reflects back on the events surrounding 503 Cubadult's separation from 402. He writes "At the time, and until somewhat recently, I stated that 402 had “abandoned” her yearling (now known as 503). While this might be true in a sense, I no longer think that this is an accurate way of describing the event. After reading more about the emancipation process, I’ve come to believe 402 didn’t abandon her yearling in 2014. She emancipated him."
KNP&P visitor and bearcam viewer CalliopeJane (aka Tina Crowe) visited Margot Creek on 07/25/2014 on guided tour with Naknek River Camp and took photos of a sow with 2 cubs. The sow appears to be 435 Holly with 1 small, dark spring cub and 1 blond yearling. 435 Holly was seen earlier this summer on the Brooks River with 1 spring cub. The blond yearling may be bear 402's emancipated yearling, known informally as the "cubadult".
CalliopeJane reported observing the sow and cubs for an hour before they ran off into the woods. At this point it is not clear if 435 Holly is merely tolerating the presence of the yearling or if she has "adopted" it and will continue to allow it to stay with her and her spring cub. Tina captured these photos:
Please request Tina Crowe's permission prior to using her photos!
Ranger Jeanne and Ranger Roy have a behind the scenes conversation about Tina Crowe's (aka CalliopeJane) photos of a sow with two cubs (one smaller spring cub and one larger yearling) Tina posted from her time at Margot Creek:
[7/27/14 10:08:54 PM] Jeanne: Are you still there? If so, look at my account and check out the pictures CalliopeJane posted from her trip to Margot. It looks like 435 Holly with a spring cub and a yearling.
[7/27/14 10:21:40 PM] Roy: Your Flickr account?
[7/27/14 10:23:59 PM] Jeanne: No, sorry, my Disqus account
[7/27/14 10:35:54 PM] Roy: Ummm. That looks like Holly, Gregory, and Cubadult
[7/27/14 10:35:59 PM] Jeanne: yup
[7/27/14 10:36:02 PM] Jeanne: that's what I was thinking
[7/27/14 10:36:11 PM] Jeanne: Now I am really wishing we had gone to Margot this weekend
[7/27/14 10:36:15 PM] Roy: Has Mike seen it?
[7/27/14 10:36:22 PM] Jeanne: Emailed them to Fitz but he won't see until the morning
[7/27/14 10:36:24 PM] Roy: We need some DNA, stat!
(Note: "Gregory" was a nickname Ranger Roy was using for 435 Holly's spring cub ~ before we knew 719 was a female ~ think type of Backpack , when Ranger Roy learned that 719 was a female....well, Kelty would work!)
2014.07.28 at 15:44: Calliope Jane's comment in bear chat on 7/28/2014: "Ranger Jeanne is awesome! I posted a pic of a mother and 2 cubs at Margot Creek and she says they appear to be a spring cub and a yearling from different mothers. So awesome that the mom was taking good care of both cubs. When a large male appeared on the river the mom herded both cubs into a run down the beach and took them both to safety in trees. This was right before they disappeared."
Ranger Roy's reply to CalliopeJane (aka Tina Crowe) in bearcam comments re: her photos of 435 Holly and 503 from Margot Creek and possible adoption: "While we are cautious by nature, a few of us believe you may have captured a shot of Holly, her spring cub, and 402’s “cubadult”. Keep in mind, that adoptions are extremely rare, and this may simply be that Holly is tolerant, not fully accepting of the older cub. We intend to take a trip to Margot and investigate, and we reserve the right to completely change our minds later. Congrats on a really cool series of shots, CalliopeJane!"
2014.09.05: 435 Holly returned to the mouth of Brooks River with her spring cub (719) and yearling, 503 Cubadult.
503 and 435 Holly nuzzle in this 9/5/2014 video by JoeBear. 435 Holly's spring cub approaches from the right.
Ranger Mike goes live from the beach of Naknek Lake to discuss 435 Holly returning with both her spring cub and yearling, 503 Cubadult. Cam viewer, Tronwolverine captured Ranger Mike's impromptu live chat on video
15:52: Ranger Mike's 09/05/2014 15:52 comment re: 435 Holly's adoption of 503 Cubadult:
"If you're just tuning in, 435 Holly appears to have adopted 402's abandoned yearling. Holly is now caring for a spring cub (which is hers) and a yearling (which is 402's). Adoption has been documented in brown bears, but it is rare. I've never had the chance to observe it myself so this is a novel situation for me to see -- and a facinating one at that. I have not seen the yearling nurse, but I have seen it take fish from Holly and she didn't seem to care. I wonder what other stories will unfold this summer?
Enjoy the weekend. I'm off for the next couple of days, but I'll be back in chat soon."
Note: For purposes of maintaining this page as 402's, the fact that she is now a single sow and her abandoned yearling (503 Cubadult) has been adopted, please refer to 503 Cubadult's page and 435 Holly's page for additional 2014 information.
402 was included in the 2015 Bears of Brooks River book on page 37:
2015: Adult female with 4 spring cubs, 6th known litter
Park visitor Ross Baldwin captured this video of 132 and her 3 yearling and 402 and her 4 spring cubs. Vocalizations abound in this video; be sure to have your sound turned up for this one! 132 can be seen and heard jaw popping and huffing for her two wayward yearlings after her interaction with 402.
402 and her 4 spring cubs video by Ross Baldwin:
402 and her cubs can also be seen in this video by Ross Baldwin:
2015.??.??: 402 and her 4 spring cubs can be seen at the 1:48 mark into this video by Donna Archer:
2015.??.??: Madeleine Rose captured video of 402 and her 4 spring cubs at Brooks Falls at multiple points in this 2015 video. The family is seen at 0:41, 0:53, 1:22, 2:17, 2:56 and 3:41.
July 2015:2015.07.08: 402 with 3 of her 4 spring cubs NPS photo by Ranger Roy Wood from Katmai Terrane blog: 402 Returns with Four Cubs by Ranger Michael Fitz July 9, 2015. 402 is looking back toward her fourth cub which is still in the grass.:
2015.07.09: Katmai Terrane blog: 402 Returns with Four Cubs by Ranger Michael Fitz. NPS photo of 402 with 4 spring cubs by T. Hostetter.:
2015.07.14: KNP&P volunteer and cam viewer Rockatte captured this video of 402's four spring cubs, one of the cubs is vocalizing:2015.07.16: Park visitor and cam viewer, Carla Farris captured these photos of 402 with her 4 spring cubs during her trip to Brooks Camp: Photo #1 , #2 , #3 , #4 , #5 , #6 , #7 , #8 , #9 , #10 , #11 , #12 , #13 , #14 , #15 , #16 , #17 , & #18 . Carla also captured this photo of two of 402's spring cubs .
2015.07.24: 402's 4 spring cubs can be seen playing on the bank while 402 is fishing in this 7/24/2015 video by Nancy Clark.
2015.07.26: 402 is observed nursing her 4 spring cubs at Brooks Falls in this 7/26/2015 video by Nancy Clark.
2015.07.28: Anna-Marie, KNP&P volunteer, park visitor, cam viewer, and cam op captured these photos of 402 with her 4 spring cubs. Please request Anna-Marie's permission prior to using her photos!
402 was observed on the Explore live cam nursing her spring cubs:
Cam viewer, Larinor captured part of these precious moments in this snapshot :
402 is included in the 2016 Bears of Brooks River book on page 44:
2016.06.14: On June 14, 2016 402 was observed with 3 remaining yearlings from her 2015 litter of 4 spring cubs.
2016.06.16 17:57: 402 with her 3 remaining yearlings in this video by Mickey Williams:
2016.06.17: Park visitor, Ned Awty captured photographs of 402 and her 3 remaining yearlings: 402's 3 remaining yearlings , 402 with her 3 remaining yearlings, 402 with her 3 remaining yearlings, 402 with her 3 remaining yearlings , 402 with her 3 remaining yearlings , 402 , 402 with her 3 remaining yearlings , 402 with 1 of 3 remaining yearlings , and 402 with 3 remaining yearlings .
2016.06.19: On June 19, 2016 402 was observed with 2 remaining yearlings from her 2015 litter of 4 spring cubs. 402 lost the largest one of her 3 remaining yearlings sometime between June 17. 2016 and June 19, 2016.
2016.06.30: 402 with her 2 yearlings (811 & 812) being followed (shadowed) by 719 (435 Holly's recently emancipated 2.5 year-old) video by Erum Chad (aka Erie). In the video it appears as if 719 was “sizing up” the 402s. She rests by them then follows them up river a bit and lays down and rests maybe 20 feet away from the 402s. 402 eventually charges 719, but she was undeterred.:
402 goes over the falls but mananges to hold on to the fish. You can see the cubs on the edge of the fish ladder and 719 looking very thin lurking below and watching 402. Video by Melissa Freels:
402 and 2 yearlings video by Rob Rager:
2016.07.06: Park visitor and cam viewer, Bryan Link (aka PhotoBearsBry), captured this video of 402 with her yearlings (811 & 812) from the Brooks Falls wildlife viewing platform during his trip to Brooks Camp.
PhotoBearsBry (aka Bryan) also has this video on youTube of 402 with her two yearlings (811 & 812). This is from July 6, 2016 not July 6, 2017 as it states in the information on youTube.:
2016.07.10: 402's cub washes over the falls video by Erum Chad:
2016.07.11: 719 following 402 and her 2 yearlings (811 & 812) at the falls video by Erum Chad (aka Erie). 402 eventually charges 719, but she was undeterred.:
2016.07.22: Melissa Freels captured 7/22/2016 video of 402 and her 2 yearlings being followed by 856 after leaving the Brooks Falls area. When this was observed on the cams, viewers were quite anxious about the welfare of 402 and her cubs. 856 seemed to have picked up on their scent and followed their path.
Green River created this 2016 slideshow video and dated the 402/cubs and 856 sequence from 7/22/2016. 402, her cubs and 856 can be seen from 0:00-1:16.
September 2016:2016.09.13: 402 and cubs, 719 (435's biological independent offspring) dispute with 435 Holly video by Lyn Gulbransen.
Cam viewer kcanada shared these thoughts about Lyn's video:
"Yet another 2016 interaction involving 402 and 719 but this time featuring Holly. There was much discussion about how to interpret what transpired.
At the start of the video, 402 and her yearlings are out on the spit, along with 719. Holly (who was known to charge Backpack after he was emancipated if they came into too close contact) spots 719 on the spit, and comes out of the water heading towards 719. In doing this she gets between 402s cubs and 402. 402 charges forward and pushes 719 back. 402 then briefly confronts 435 who backs down. 402 turns away, and then Holly charges 719. 402 then confronts 435 again. Holly retreats to the water but doesn't leave; she continues to watch intently.
Things seem to calm for a moment until around 3:15, 402 then charges 719 who retreats. At that point Holly comes out of the water which draws 402 back away from 719.":
402 and two yearlings standoff with 273 and yearling video by Melissa Freels:
2016.09.27: 402 with her cubs and 719 (435's biological independent 2014 offspring) video by Brenda D:
2016.10.16: 402 with her cubs, 719 (435's biological independent 2014 offspring), and 708 Amelia with her cubs video by Flyer 7474. Kcanada describes her observations of this video "The 708s and the 402s with 719 in tow meet by the Falls. Turn up the volume for the offscreen roaring between 708 and 402. You can see the differing mothering styles between 708 and 402. 708 is offering regular reassurance to her cubs once the shouting is over. 402 seeming to have made her point carries on with looking for fish seemingly unconcerned that Amelia might pose any threat to her cubs. Of course, 402 is twice the size of 708, so that's not nothing.":
2016.10.23: 719 shaowing 402 and her 2 yearlings in this part 2 video by Flyer 7474 (aka SteveCA). This is part 2 from Oct 23 2016. There is a scary moment towards the end between 402 and 719. 719 did seem to come out of it ok. :
402 was included in the 2017 Bears of Brooks River book on page 49.
402 is listed on the unofficial July 2017 Bears Observed During Official Bear Monitoring Sessions List .
2017.07.17: 32 greets 402 and 856 video by Flyer 7474 (aka SteveCA):
2017.07.21: 402 fishing the lip of the falls, she catches a fish, then slips off the falls into the jacuzzi where 32 Chunk is fishing. 402 comes up from the fall with the fish. 32 Chunk steals the fish from 402. 402 dives in the jacuzzi and comes up with another fish. Video by Linda Jett:
Please request ElaineDE's permission prior to using her photographs!
2017.08.05: 402 fishing in close proximity to her 2013 biological offspring, 503 Cubadult video by Brenda D:
402 fishing in the jacuzzi and 503 Cubadult (her only surviving 2013 biological offspring) fishing the lip of Brooks Falls video by Brenda D:
2017.09.23: 402 really packed on the pounds as a single female in 2017 and seemed like a guaranteed contestant as a contender for the 2017 Fat Bear Week contest. Goldilocks even created a meme in preparation to campaign for 402. Goldilocks was not the only cam viewer that was shocked to learn that 402 was not a contestant in the 2017 Fat Bear Week contest.Rangers later explained that 402 did not cooperate with their efforts to obtain fall 2017 photos of 402 to be used in comparison to early season photos of 402 for her to be included in the 2017 Fat Bear Week Contest.
Stmango also captured this snapshot of 402 on September 23, 2017 that shows a different side (if round has sides) of the pounds 402 packed on in fall of 2017:
2017.09.26: 806 is fishing the lip with 503 in the jacuzzi below. 402 (503's speculated Mom) wants to dive for fish but 503 is in her way, a minor squabble ensues, video by 12gizmo16.
402 appears on the unofficial Fall 2017 Bears Observed During Official Bear Monitoring Sessions List .
2018: Adult Female with 4 Spring Cubs, 7th Known Litter, Blondest Spring Cub is Female
Cam viewer, JG captured these snapshots of 402 and 402 with her spring cubs during the 2018 season. Cam viewer, Olddude captured this snapshot of 402 with her 4 spring cubs . Cam viewer, CarolineB captured these snapshots of the 402 family group during the 2018 season.:
Cam viewer, JG captured these snapshots of 402's four spring cubs during the 2018 season. Cam viewer, Sunny captured this snapshot of 3 of 402's spring cubs. Sunny also captured this snapshot of 402's four spring cubs. Cam viewer, Olddude captured this snapshot of 402's four spring cubs. Olddude also captured this snapshot of 402's spring cubs. Cam viewer, dkdogs captured this snapshot of 402's spring cubs.:
Photographer and park visitor, Valerie Van Griethuysen captured many photos of 402 and her 4 spring cubs during her 2018 trip to Brooks Camp. Many of Valarie's photos and some stories have been shared in many ways.:
Natural Habitat Adventures & WWF article: Traveler's Story: Finding a Personal Connection With the Brown Bears of Brooks Falls has a few photos of 402 and her 4 spring cubs.
Natural Habitat Adventures & WWF Wildlife Photo of the Day on Janaury 5, 2019: Mama Brown Bear has a photo of 402 with her 4 spring cubs.
dailywildlifephotos January 6, 2019 Instagram post has a photo of 402 with her 4 spring cubs by Valarie.
Natural Habitat Adventures & WWF Wildlife Photo of the Day on February 21, 2019: Phew, Safe on Mom has a photo of 402 with one of her spring cubs on her back.
2018.0?.??: Laura Lyn Photography shared this summer 2018 video of 402's four spring cubs on the wall of the fish ladder in their May 5, 2019 Facebook post.
2018.07.13 14:55: On July 13, 2018 at approximately 14:55 , 402 was observed wtih 4 spring cubs. Ranger Russ commented at 15:14 to share the BREAKING NEWS! At 15:39 Ranger Russ posted a photo of 402 with her 4 spring cubs taken by volunteer Maurice Whalen (per Ranger Russ at 15:43). At 15:47 Ranger Russ posted a second photo of the family group.KNP&P's July 13, 2018 tweet re: 402 returning to Brooks River with 4 spring cubs. Their tweet included a NPS photo of 402 with her four spring cubs and a NPS photo of 402 with two of the four spring cubs . These photos of 402 and her 4 spring cubs were taken by KNP&P volunteer in park, Maurice Whalen:
2018.07.15: On July 18, 2018 at 09:54 Ranger Andrew (@Katmai Ranger) commented to inform cam viewers that on Sunday, July 15th 402 and one of her spring cubs was separated. The two were later reunited and the family was back to a full litter of four.
Cam viewer and KNP volunteer Stacey shared a 3 part story and epilogue of her 7/15/2018 experience when hearing that 402 had lost one spring cub, posted in chat on 5/3/2020.
I have a loooong 402 story , so I'm breaking it into pieces. Here is Part 1.
“Spring cub in camp!”
The announcement crackled over the radio with unusual urgency.
It was noon on Sunday, July 15, 2018. My housemate and I both had the day off from our volunteer duties; as always, we’d left our radios on as we worked around the yurt—doing laundry and cleaning up.
It wasn’t unusual to hear a radio announcement of a bear in camp. Whenever a bear entered camp (that is, the populated area around Brooks Lodge), a ranger would announce on the radio, “Bear in camp,” alerting rangers and volunteers to the need to mobilize to keep the bear separate from any people in the area.
But this announcement came with unusual urgency.
“Spring cub in camp!”
What was a spring cub doing in camp, I wondered. Where was the mom?And why were we hearing the announcement on the radio at the same time we heard the ranger saying it right outside our front door?
My housemate and I dropped our lunch and jumped to open the front door—just in time to see a tiny spring cub bounce off the electric fence outside our building and bound into the woods and tall grass between our yurt and Naknek Beach.
One of the bear techs—the one who’d made the radio announcement—stood on the path outside the yurt, his hand still on his radio button.
Another bear tech hurried quickly around the corner.
Spring cub in camp?
“He went that way,” my housemate and I said, right away, pointing to the adjacent woods.
The two bear techs on duty—along with my housemate, a bear tech volunteer—immediately developed a plan. The senior ranger walked quietly into the woods, while the first ranger shadowed him in parallel on the path. The third tech went down to the beach. From these three vantage points, one of these techs might be able to spot the wandering cub. They’d also be able to keep an eye on human traffic that might influence the bear’s behavior.
I’d heard the cub huffing when he first ran into the woods, but the noise stopped almost immediately. For several minutes, it was agonizingly quiet as the bear techs slowly and cautiously watched for the cub.
I stood on the path outside the yurt, talking with a photographer who’d spotted the lone cub, and keeping her from getting any closer to the searching rangers.
Then a visitor hurried up a back trail. “There’s a cub in the campground!"he reported, breathlessly.
Well, we knew where the cub had gone, and we knew why we weren’t finding him in the woods.
But this new information posed new challenges.
At this point, we needed not only to find the cub, but to help control the foot traffic created by the presence of an animal in the campground.
A note about geography: The campground is about .2 miles (I think) away from the Visitor Center and the yurt—it’s the opposite direction from Brooks Lodge and Brooks Falls. (I’ll try to post a map in comments below.)
When visitors check in to the campground, they receive instructions about what to do if an animal gets into the campground. (“If a moose or a bear gets into camp, what you want to do is get out.”) They’re advised to exit calmly and give the animal space, and, as always, to follow the directions of rangers on duty.
So when we heard word of the cub in the campground, staff mobilized quickly to manage bear-human interactions. Rangers and volunteers take station at predetermined key points, waiting with visitors (to keep them from wandering into a bear), and communicating by radio as to the whereabouts of bears. If you’re working at Brooks Camp, you have a “map” of the area in your head; the radio reports help you visualize what’s happening against that map.
The bear techs focus on finding the bears. But if you’re an interpretive ranger or volunteer (as I have been), you try to educate and inform your guests while you’re waiting together.
-- “Why is that spring cub out on its own?” “It must’ve been separated from its mother.”
-- “How old is that cub?” “That’s a spring cub, born in the den in January or February, so it’s about 6 months old.”
-- “How often does an animal get into the campground?” “Oh, about once a year. But this is the second time it’s happened this year; I’m told there was a moose in camp earlier.”
Time passed, and the visitors—many with cameras—waited for a glimpse of the lost bear.
But no luck. After about 15 minutes, my radio crackled again, “Spring cub heading down the beach, away from the campground.”
So the cub had been spotted. But he was still alone. The good news, in my mind, was that the cub was heading away from camp, to an area that he was likely familiar with and where he was less likely to encounter the stress of human encounters.
We breathed a sigh of relief mixed with anxiety. We knew, generally, where the cub was—but what would happen next?
Here is Part 2 of the 402 story. Part 3 to come shortly!
Later that afternoon, we heard a radio report: 402 had been spotted at Brooks River with only three cubs.
So a piece of the puzzle fell into place: 402 had been separated from one of her four cubs.
I recalled that when I first started watching the cams—in 2013—402 had sometimes been branded as a “bad mother.” A large, strong bear, she frequently came to Brooks Camp with large litters of three or four cubs—but raising large litters to emancipation is difficult, and some saw her low emancipation rate as a sign of bad parenting.
Ranger Roy was always quick to point out that if you looked at raw numbers, rather than percentages, 402 had probably emancipated as many individual cubs as 409 Beadnose or 435 Holly.
And eventually 402’s reputation changed. In 2015 , when 402 became separated from her yearling, now 503 Cubadult, many of us (me included) said that she “abandoned” him -- making it sound like she willingly left her cub in order to mate with 856. Over time, though, with the help of ranger reports and visitor videos (I’ll try to post one in the comments), we came to see that she worked hard to protect that yearling from an aggressive 856—ultimately only separating from him in order to protect him from the persistent older bear.
So in 2018, I would defend 402 as a very good mother! But what had happened to this spring cub, on this July 2018 day? How did 402 become separated from one of her four yearlings?
It seemed that no one knew. In my experience, when you’re at Brooks Camp, you learn things by piecing together reports from various sources: There’s a spring cub loose in camp; 402 is seen w/three yearlings at the river; we saw a mom with four yearlings at this time, and then the same mom with three yearlings at this time, and no one saw anything in between.
The wandering cub appeared at noon on Sunday, July 15.
Later that night, when it was time for bed, the last reports were that 402 had left the river with three yearlings and not been seen since.
My housemate, the bear tech, was up early the next morning, as always. His first radio report came around 7 a.m. “Spring cub at the gravel pile.”
So we knew that the spring cub had come back from the quiet beach he’d gone to the previous day—he was still alive, and he was still on his own.
When a spring cub is on its own, you can worry about a lot of things. How would the cub defend himself from larger, hungry bears? How would he avoid the stress of being in an area with lots of people, many of them eager for pictures of an adorable little cub? “How long could a cub live without food?” I finally asked. This was a spring cub, still nursing in July, I was told; the hope was that he’d be reunited with his mom within three days.
Over the course of that Monday, we heard several radio reports. “Spring cub on the Cultural Trail.” “Spring cub on Park Avenue.” “402 near the Campground with three cubs.” “402 at the Riffles with three cubs.”
It seemed that the cub and the family group were following an established loop, sniffing for each other, but never connecting.
None of this happened in view of the cams, and experiencing it live was fascinating. If I’d been watching this unfold on the cams, I’d have been obsessing about the fate of the wandering cub—and of course, I (and everyone else) thought about this constantly. But in camp, this was one of several fascinating stories all playing out at the same time. Bear 132 had lost one of her two spring cubs just two weeks earlier; we were still watching that story develop. 435 Holly’s blonde yearling was developing a bold streak. And so on.
Anytime I saw a ranger arriving from another part of camp, I’d ask, “Any news on the spring cub?” At the end of Monday, the cub was still alive, and still on his own.
Here is Part 3 of my 402 story.
Over the next few days, rangers kept careful track of the cub and of the 402 family group.
We received frequent reports on their whereabouts—and while the bears seemed to be looking for each other, they weren’t finding each other.
At times, the cub seemed tantalizing close to his mom and siblings. One of the bear techs would report, “Spring cub at the gravel pile,” while another would report “Sow with three spring cubs on the Cultural Trail.” But at the end of Monday, and the end of Tuesday, the final reports on 402 always seemed to indicate that she’d ended the day with three spring cubs.
Then, on Wednesday, July 18, I was working inside at the Visitors Center. Around 3 p.m., I was sweeping the floor, when a guest came in to do some shopping before catching her evening plane.
“How was your visit?” I asked, as I always did. (I like hearing people’s stories.)
“Oh, it was amazing!” she said. “I saw the mom with four cubs on the trail to the falls.”
“Wait,” I said. “How many cubs did she have?”
“She had four,” the guest said.
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Oh, yes,” she said calmly. “I told the ranger on the platform that the mom had four cubs, and she was really excited.”
And that’s the story of how 402 found her cub!
Or at least, that’s how I heard it the first time.
Later that day, I heard from one of the rangers that the cub had actually been reunited with the family the night before—Tuesday, July 17—near the campground. Apparently, 402 and her three spring cubs had been hanging out near the campground fence, when all of a sudden, several guests saw her stand up and start sniffing the air kind of frantically. Then she started huffing quickly—and the fourth cub appeared, first quietly, and then bawling. 402 laid down where she was, and the cub began nursing. (Apparently, lots of people in the campground took pictures.)
And that’s how they reunited.
Over the course of the next several days, 402 was seen repeatedly with varying numbers of cubs—first four, then two (!), then three, and then four again. Was it the same cub that kept separating? We never knew.
And I learned a valuable lesson from the Wednesday guest at the Visitors Center. When I told her that 402 had been without one of her cubs for several days, the guest remarked, “Well, that mom has a big job on her hands! She’s got four cubs—and one of them’s a wanderer. She’s going to have to keep an eye on that one. He has a mind of his own.”
Thanks to this visitor, I learned that the parenting stories aren’t always just about the mom—they can be about cubs, too. These stories have multiple players—and that’s what makes them interesting.
And here is an Epilogue to my 402 story.
A few days after 402 and her lost cub were reunited, I was outside the yurt with my bear tech housemate.
We looked up, and saw 402 and her cubs walking toward us, on the path near the Ranger Station.
"How many cubs does she have," I asked.
We saw that she had four.
As she approached, my bear tech housemate suggested that we duck into the laundry room to give her space.
This surprised me, because this was not a required step--most protocols would've suggested that we could stand on the stairs in front of the laundry room to watch as the bears went past.
But I took it as a sign of utmost respect that we gave this remarkable family group extra space.
And it was a privilege to peek through the crack of the laundry room door and watch 402 and her four spring cubs walk past, all four cubs clustered close to their mother's legs.
Stacey also shared this story in her blog: Spring Cub In Camp .
2018.07.16 or PRIOR: Video of 402 with 4 spring cubs moving through Brooks Camp video by craig_kuetella on instagram, posted 2018.07.16. On July 17, 2018 at 09:51 Mike Fitz commented : "The person speaking sounds like one of the Katmai's bear technicians."
2018.07.17 or PRIOR: 402 with 4 spring cubs by Taylor Thomas Albright on instagram, posted 2018.07.17 at approximately 08:30.
On July 18, 2018 at 09:54 Ranger Andrew (@Katmai Ranger) commented to inform cam viewers that on Tuesday, July 17th the family (402 family group) walked by the Ranger Station in Brooks Camp with only two cubs.
One of the employees of Brooks Lodge posted a video from the morning of July 17, 2018 of 402 and her cubs, one of the cubs was lagging far behind per Rockatte's July 19, 2018 07:50 comment :
""One of the lodge employees posted a video from July 17th morning, and one cub was lagging far behind. I'll never forget how Chris Morgan answered my question about cub survival: he said, "It's up to the cub to keep up and fight for survival - the sow will not do it any special favors.""
2018.07.18: On July 18, 2018 at 09:54 Ranger Andrew (@Katmai Ranger) commented to inform cam viewers that on the morning of Wednesday, July 18th 402 was seen again with three of her four spring cubs.On July 18, 2018, Explore.org released their latest blog by Mike Fitz: Four Cubs for 402 Again :
Four Cubs for 402 Again by Mike Fitz
"The sight of spring cubs elicits an air of excitement. Baby animals in general, and spring cubs in particular, represent the promise of the future and their playfulness and curiosity remind us of our own childhood or children. Raising cubs though, isn’t an easy task. Cubs face considerable risk in their young lives and mother bears are challenged to raise and provide for their cubs until they are mature enough to survive on their own.
On July 13 one of Brooks River’s well-known bears, 402, arrived at the river mouth with four spring cubs. 402 is an experienced mother who has had six litters prior to 2018. Her fecundity is partly a result of her age (402 is about twenty years old and had her first litter as 6.5 year-old bear in 2004) and partly the result of a high turnover rate between some of her previous litters. For example, the loss of her entire 2007 litter stimulated her to enter estrous and mate. When she returned in 2008, she was caring for another litter of spring cubs. In 2014, she entered estrous and weaned a yearling cub (now known as 503). She then returned to Brooks River in July 2015 with 4 cubs .
402 can now apply years of experience and skill to help her current cubs reach independence. However, no mother bear at Brooks River is known to have successfully weaned four cubs from a single litter.
Since 2000, mother bears have returned to Brooks River six times with four-cub litters (including 402’s current litter). Most cubs from the pre-2018 litters did not survive. In 2004, 236 Milkshake returned with only two yearlings from her 2003 four-cub litter. In 2006, 216 Marilyn returned with three yearlings from her 2005 four-cub litter, but only two yearlings survived by the end of summer.In 2010, two bears (236 Milkshake and 875) returned to Brooks River with four-cub litters. By 2011, however, both mothers had lost their entire litters. The last four-cub litter seen at Brooks River was also the product of 402. When last seen the fall of 2015, she still had all four cubs, but by the time she returned to Brooks River in 2016 she only had two yearlings. (One of the many subadult bears at Brooks River currently could be her former cub from 2015.)
The risks to cubs are real . Protecting, teaching, and feeding cubs is a difficult task, one that is made even more so for 402 this time by her four-cub litter. Just recently, rangers reported “402…lost a cub, was reunited with it, then seen with two cubs, and most recently, back with three.” No matter this family’s fate, we can marvel at 402’s determination to follow her maternal instincts in an attempt raise another generation of Brooks River’s bears."
Prior to 2018.07.20: Kenneth Kearney's July 20, 2018 17:29 facebook post with a video of 402 nursing her 4 spring cubs:
"Back from Brooks with plenty of photos. Here's a video of a brown bear nursing her four spring cubs. I was happy to see this family reunited after one of the cubs was lost. The panicked cub ran into the campground calling for its mother and spent over a day running around the river and lake looking for her. This was taken shortly after they were reunited.
Several years ago I saw this bear with her previous set of four spring cubs. She's a prolific mother since not many have or bring four cubs to the river. Everyone around camp was glad this lost cub survived one of the many challenges that bears face when growing up.
I'll have more video and many pictures from Brooks/Katmai and my Great Bear Rainforest trip coming soon."
Brenda D captured this video of 402 and her 4 spring cubs:
Kerstin59 captured these shapshots of 402 and her 4 spring cubs:
These photographs (#1 , #2 , #3 & #4 ) were originally added to 402's wiki page by wiki contributor Vvanbikes2 under July 13, 2018 and appeared like appears below. LTC relocated them on 06/28/2020 to the area of 07/20/2018.:
23:07: 402 and her 4 spring cubs can be seen at approximately 37:40 into this Explore Recorder video. The four spring cubs can be seen riding on 402's back.
LaniH captured this video :
Mark Kaufman (worked at Brooks Camp in 2014 ) at Mashable wrote an article about 402 and her four spring cubs on July 20, 2018.: A bear cam mom showed up at the river with four cubs. How many will survive? Check out his article for lots of information (complete with remarks by Mike Fitz) and photos of 402's 2018 litter.
Bearwatcher, McKate captured this video of 402 and her 4 spring cubs:
2018.09.17: Shel captured this snapshot of 402 and her spring cubs. Shel also captured this snapshot of 402 with her spring cubs. Shel also captured these snapshots of 402 (snapshot #1 , #2 , #3 , #4 , & #5 ) and this snapshot of 402 and one of her four spring cubs. Cam viewer, Sunny captured these snapshots (#1 & #2 ) of 402 with her spring cubs. Olddude shared these snapshots of 402 and her spring cubs on 5/3/2020, #1, #2 and #3.2018.09.18: 402 with her 4 spring cubs snapshot by Sunny .:
402 and her 4 spring cubs are seen in this 9/18/2018 Explore Recorder video, 10:54-12:38.
2018.09.21: 402 and her spring cubs video by Birgitt:
2018.09.24: 402 and her 4 spring cubs video by Birgitt:2018.09.25:
402 and her 4 spring cubs in close proximity to 402's offspring from her 2015 and 2013 litters video by Birgitt:
One of 402's cubs is a female video by Birgitt:
Bear watcher, mckate captured this video of 402 diving in the jacuzzi:
2018.09.27: 402's four spring cubs crossing the lower Brooks River video by Birgitt:
October 2018:Sunny captured this snapshot of 402 with her 4 spring cubs.:
2018.10.08:video of 402 and her 4 spring cubs:
2018.10.09: 402's four spring cubs and the dead gull video by Birgitt Evans:
2019: Adult Female with 3 Remaining Yearlings, Smallest Dark Yearling is Male, Medium-sized Yearling is Female
402 returned to the Brooks River with 3 yearlings from her 2018 litter.
402's smallest dark yearling is a male. 402's medium-sized yearling is a female. Mazey's October 16, 2019 11:23 comment .:
CarolineB shared shared 2019 snapshots of 402 and her 3 yearlings on 5/3/2020, #1, #2 and #3. Phillydude shared 2019 snapshots of 402 and her 3 yearlings on 5/3/2020, #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10 and #11.
2019.??.?? (2019.07.09 or Prior): Angel Wallis (aka onebusyangel) posted this video of 402 and her 3 yearlings to her instagram on July 9, 2019. 402 can be heard jaw popping.
Deanna Dittloff (aka deelynnd) created a June-July 2019 video of 402 and her 3 yearlings.
2019.06.21: On June 21, 2019 at 13:18 AKDT, Courtney at Explore posted a photo of 402 with 3 yearlings.:
2019.06.28: 402 and her 3 yearlings in the riffles, 6/28/2019 video by Ratna Narayan.
2019.06.29: 402 was observed with her 3 remaining yealrings.
Sometime between June 29, 2019 and early morning June 30, 2019. 402 was separated from one of her 3 remaining yearlings, and was observed with only 2 remaining yearlings.
2019.06.30: 402 was observed with only 2 remaining yearlings when 1st observed on June 30, 2019.
402 with her 2 remaining yearlings in the riffles video by Lani H.:
402 at the falls on 6/30/2019 with only 2 yearlings, video by Lani H.
Later in the day on June 30, 2019, 402 was reunited with her 3rd remaining yearling.
402 with 3 yearlings on the lip video by Flyer 7474 (aka SteveCA):
Video by Arlene Beech (aka Homebird):
402 gives lip fishing lessons video by mckate. 402 was not afraid to fish above 856, but leaves quickly when she sees 747 and drops her fish. Her quick thinking yearling retrieves it.:
909 gets between 402 and 402's desired fishing spot, the lip of the falls. 402 gives 909 a lesson of the sow hierarchy, 402 charges 909 and goes around 909 on the fish ladder to reclaim the lip. 909 does not heed 402's warning in that lesson and 909 proceeds to climb toward the lip after 402 is up there. 402 descends the lip and hands 909 a much more stern lesson. It may also be important to know that 402 had spent a stressful day searching for one of her misplaced yearlings prior to this agressive interaction with 909.
402, 503 Cubadult, 909 video by Ratna Narayan:
Truman Everts captured a 6/30/2019 photo of 402's interaction with 909 and shared it in chat on 5/6/2020. "Sow (402) lays into subadult (909) who was "social distancing" at a rookie level... " Truman's photo can be seen at 0:43 into mckate's video below. Mckate commented on Truman's photo, I make notes to go with my videos. Here's what the note for this incident said, "402 had spent a stressful day searching for one of her misplaced yearlings. She and 909 had words about who would be using the lip and 909 was quite persistent about it. 402 finally lost all patience." It takes more than a thumping to get 909 down though. I'm pretty sure she headed right back to the lip!
Please request Truman Everts' permission prior to using his photographs!
402 thumps 909 video by mckate.402 attacks 909 video by tm saneda.
2019.07.01: 402 and yearlings near the bridge, 7/1/2019 video by Lani H.
2019.07.02: 402 and yearlings fish the lip, 7/2/2019 video by Lani H.
2019.07.05: Truman Everts captured this photograph of 402's 3 yearlings at 18:13 (p 12/07/19 04:38 ). Truman Everts captured this photograph of 402 with her 3 yearlings at 19:04 (p 12/09/19 03:08 ).: Truman shared this 7/5/2019 photo of 402 and her 3 yearlings on the lip on 4/28/2020. Truman Everts shared this 7/5/2019 photo of 402 in the riffles on 5/3/2020. Truman Everts shared 7/5/2019 photos of 402 and her 3 yearlings on 5/3/2020, #1, #2 and #3. Truman Everts shared this 7/5/2019 photo of 402 and her 3 yearlings on the lip on 5/15/2020. Truman Everts shared this 7/5/2019 photo of 402's 3 yearlings in the riffles on 6/10/2020.
Please request Truman Everts' permission prior to using his photographs!2019.07.06: Truman Everts captured this photograph of 402 with her 3 yearlings at 20:28 (p 12/09/19 16:10 ).: Truman Everts shared this 7/6/2019 photo of 402 with 1 of her 3 yearlings on 5/8/2020. Truman Everts shared this 7/6/2019 photo of 402 with her 3 yearlings on 5/30/2020.
Please request Truman Everts' permission prior to using his photographs!
747 shows his displeasure with 402 fishing the lip above him in the jacuzzi video by Ratna Narayan.:
747 chases 89 Backpack across the top of the falls where 402 and her 3 yearlings and 806 are fishing. 402 and her cubs scatter while 806 backs away, 7/6/2019 video by mckate.
Ratna Narayan also captured video of 747 chasing 89 Backpack on 7/6/2019. 402 and her cubs run off the lip.
Park visitor Jaysea C filmed the same event in this 7/6/2019 video. 89 Backpack can be seen being chased by 747 at 3:48. 402 and her yearlings make a hasty exit.
Please request NWBearLove92's permission prior to using any of their photographs!