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PATCHES 469 PIC 2015.06.21 NPS PHOTO RMIKE

469 "Digger" / "Patches" June 19. 2015 NPS photo by Ranger Mike Fitz

Adult Male

Yesr First Identified:  2001 as an adult male

Known Offspring Of:  Not known

Darting Attempts:  There were no darting attempts (successful or unsuccessful) by Ranger Michael Saxton in 2016 or 2017.



Identification:

469 is a medium-large male bear.  His claws are dark and he has short, round ears.  His muzzle is blocky and straight.  469's coat is brown.  His most distinctive feature is a blond, diamond shaped patch of mocha colored fur on his left shoulder.

Distinctive Behaviors:

From 2001 - 2011, 469 was an irregular user of the Brooks Rivr and was only observed in the fall.  At those times, he fished the lower Brooks River and in Naknek Lak, but he ws usually only seen in the morning and would leav the area when human activity increased.  This indicates that 469 is not tolerant of people.

In 2012, 469 was observed guarding a bear carcass in October 2012.  (see the 2012 Life History section below for additional information)

In 2013, this pattern was broken and he was seen fishing regularly at Brooks Falls for the fist time in July, even when large numbers of people were watching from the Brooks Falls wildlife viewing platform.  It is unknown why this bear changed his habits. (see 2013 Life History section below for additional information).

Life History:

2001:

469 "Digger" / "Patches" was first identified as an adult male in 2001.  He does not have an official nickname.  In the 2012 section below, you can learn how the cam viewer unofficial nickname came to be.  In 2001 469 was an irregular user of the Brooks River and was only observed in the fall.  At those times, he fished the lower Brooks River and in Naknek Lake, but he was usually only seen in the morning and would leave the area when human activity increasd.  This indicates that 469 is not tolerant of people.

2006:

September 2006:

2010:

September 2010:

2010.09.03:  NPS photos of 469 "Digger" / "Patches" and 879 having a play fight.

ADD PHOTOS HERE

2010.09.13:  NPS photos of 469 "Digger" / "Patches" having a play fight with 879 .:

2012:

September 2012:

October 2012:

In October 2012, 469 was observed guarding a bear carcass in the Lower Brooks River area.  It is unknown whether or not 469 killed the other bear.  469's cache and his behaviors of consuming the cache were visible on the Explore live cams.  469 was quickly dubbed with the unofficial nickname "Digger" by the Explore bearcam viewing community.

2012.10.07 - 2012.10.09: 

"On Sunday morning, October 7, biologists stationed at Brooks Camp noted that adult male Bear 469* (no nickname, but this is the one bearcam viewers called “Digger”) had apparently killed something and was in the process of caching it. A bear will often cache food when there is more than can be eaten at once. Salmon, for example, are typically not cached, but a moose would be. Throughout the day, Bear 469 added to, and rearranged his cache, and slept. Biologists later that day, (after the cams shut down), determined that the cache contained the remains of an unidentified bear.  

Sometime after dark and before the biologists returned to the Lower River on Monday, October 8, another bear, Bear 814 (Lurch) arrived on the scene and took over Bear 469’s cache, chasing him off. Bear 469 was not killed, and was seen one additional time after the cache-building event. Throughout the day on Monday, Bear 814 was observed to be adding to and rearranging his cache.

On Tuesday morning, October 9, biologists once again observed the remains of a bear in the cache. Bear 814 was seen to periodically dig into the cache and pull out a part of the dead bear and eat it. When not eating, he slept and rearranged his cache. Most other bears continued to steer clear of Bear 814 and his well-guarded cache. Whether you are man or beast, stumbling upon a brown bear’s cache is one of the most dangerous situations to find yourself in. Bears know this all too well, but may initially be drawn close by the irresistible smell of rotting meat. You will sometimes see a bear walk past the bridge, and upon recognizing the cache and Bear 814, they turn and move away quickly."

Ranger Roy shares some information about the 2012 lower river cache that 469 initially was observed on in this October 2012 blog:  The Violent Side of Nature

2013:

When 469 arrived in 2013, he was limping badly and would not place any wieght on his left hind leg.  This injury may have reduced his ability to find food elsewhere, or he may have just discovered the fishing opportunites at Brooks Falls in July.  Whatever the reason, 469 modified his behavior to fish at Brooks Falls.  Bears, even older bears, are able to shift their habits and behaviors when it is necessary for survival.

July 2013:

2013.07.10:  469 can be observed beginning at approximately 1:00 into this video by dragonlainey.  469 leaves with a fish at approximately 2:56. A 2nd video, also filmed on 7/10/2013 shows 469 in a closeup view at 0:17, video by GC Photo Productions.

Brooks Falls Brown Bear & Salmon Cam 7-10-2013 video by dragonlainey

Brooks Falls Brown Bear & Salmon Cam 7-10-2013 video by dragonlainey

2013.07.??:  (July 11, 2013 or prior):

469 can be seen in this highlights video by Explore:

Brooks Falls Feeding Frenzy July 2013 (July 11, 2013 or prior) video by Explore

Brooks Falls Feeding Frenzy July 2013 (July 11, 2013 or prior) video by Explore

2013.07.12:  Ranger Jeanne has a flickr album for 469 that contains the following July 12, 2013 photos:

469 , 480 Otis (left foreground) 469 (right foreground) and 755 Scare D. Bear (left background) , 480 Otis (front) 469 (middle right) and 755 Scare D. Bear (left background) ,  469 , 469 , 469 , 469 (foreground) , 469 (foreground) , 469 (foreground) , 469 , 469 , and 469 .

The KNP&P galleries page for 469 provides the following information for this July 12, 2013 photo of 469 :

"469 often has a distinctive diamond shaped patch of blondish fur on his left shoulder."

2013.07.13:  Ranger Jeanne's July 13, 2013 photos in her 469 flickr album :

469 . 469 , and 469 

2013.07.14:  Ranger Jeanne's July 14, 2013 photos in her 469 flickr album .

469469 , 469 , 469, and 469 

2013.07.15:  Gux Lopez has July 15, 2013 photos of 469 in this album :

469 . 469 , 469 , 469 , 469 , 469 . 469

2013.07.18:  Ranger Jeanne's July 18. 2013 photo  of 218 Ugly (left) and 469 (right) foreground in her 469 flickr album . 

The KNP&P galleries page for 469 provides this information about this photograph by Ranger Jeanne:  "In this photo, #218 (left) approaches #469 (right). #469 was subordinate to #218 in July 2013. In this interaction, #218 is holding his ears erect indicating that he is the dominant bear, while #469 holds his ear back against his head."

2013.07.20:  Ranger Jeanne's July 20, 2013 photos of 469 in her 469 flickr album :

469 , and 469 

2013.07.21:  Ranger Jeanne's July 21, 2013 photo of 469 in her 469 flickr album .

2013.07.??:  469 can be seen in this video by Jacob Lavee:

Bears catching salmons in Brook's falls, Katmai National Park, Alaska July 2013 video by Jacob Lavee

Bears catching salmons in Brook's falls, Katmai National Park, Alaska July 2013 video by Jacob Lavee

2013.07.14:  KNP&P Terrane blog "The Resilient Bear" by Ranger Mike Fitz includes a photo and information about 469 and his 2013 left hind leg injury:

PATCHES 469 PIC 2013.07.xx RESILIENT BEAR NPS BLOG 2014.07.14

469 in July 2013 NPS photo from The Resilient Bear blog by Ranger Mike Fitz

"This year #469, is frequently seen slowly moving around Brooks Falls. His left hind leg and foot are swollen. The bear moves slowly, using its three other legs as crutches. Even when standing still, the injured leg bears no weight. 

In early July 2013, #469 arrived at Brooks Falls with a severe limp. This bear often had trouble moving through the river and maintaining prime fishing spots.

We don’t know how this bear was injured, nor do we know when he was injured. Since 2001, he has only been seen in the fall, never in July. Perhaps this change in habit is a result of the injury. #469 may have to take additional risks around other bears and people at Brooks Camp in order to eat and heal.

...Of course, we don’t yet know the outcome of #469’s story, but he may yet provide us with another example of a bear’s remarkable ability to adapt, heal, and survive."


2013.07.??:  (July 22, 2013 or prior):

Ranger Mike Fitz and Ranger Roy Wood discuss 469's injury, healing, and chances of full recovery in this Explore video .  469 has been showing improvement over the past couple weeks or so.  Park staff does not know if 469 will pull through this injury.  469 has survived the hardest time of the year, spring, when food resources are less available.  Park staff does not know how or when 469 sustained his injury, they basically just know that when 469 was first observed in the 2013 season he had the injury to his left hind leg.  469 has recently been observed placing some weight on the injured leg when he is walking in the water or along the shore line.  This video provides a visual comparison of how 469 was coping with the injury on both July 8, 2013 and July 21, 2013:

Bear 469 Patches July 2013 (July 22, 2013 or prior) video by Explore

Bear 469 Patches July 2013 (July 22, 2013 or prior) video by Explore

2014:

469 was included in the 2014 Bears of Brooks River book on page 21 :

469 was not officially observed by KNP&P bear monitoring staff during monitoring sessions.

September 2014:

2014.09.26:  Cam viewers observed a bear that resembled 469:

NEED TO ADD SNAPSHOTS FROM 2014.09.26

2015:

469 was included in the 2015 Bears of Brooks River book on page 60 :

June 2015:

2015.06.19:  469 made one brief appearance at Brooks Falls in June 2015.

2015.06.22:  Brooks Camp tweet re: 469's brief appearance on Friday, June 19, 2015 :

2016:

469 was included in the 2016 Bears of Brooks River book on page 70 :

Fall 2016:

During fall 2016, a bear was spotted with a similar blond diamond shaped patch of fur on his left shoulder, though it is not certain that this bear was indeed 469.  There is a possibility that the bear observed in fall of 2016 was actually 274 Overflow.

2017:

469 was included in the 2017 Bears of Brooks River book on page 73:

June 2017:

2017.06.23 MAYBE:  Cam viewer, GreenRiver captured these snapshots of the bear that was possibly 469 on June 23, 2017:

Mickey Williams captured this video on June 23, 2017 at approximately 17:40.  The bear near the "table rock" in the far pool resembles 469.  Mickey noted that Mike Fitz felt that the bear obseved in this video may possibly be 469.  A firm ID of this bear has not been established to date.

5 4? pm 6.23

5 4? pm 6.23.2017 469? maybe? near table rock Katmai National Park and Explore video by Mickey Williams

Brenda D captured this video on June 23, 2017 of the bear that could possibly be 469.  Brenda noted that this bear showed up after 503 Cubadult headed down to the bend and 128 Grazer's family group was still up on the hill.:

06.23

06.23.2017 - 469 Patches Maybe video by Brenda D

Cherly Burnside captured this video on June 23, 2017 of the bear that could possibly be 469 fishing in closer proximity to the live cam.

2017 06 23 00 32 30 MP4 I believe Patches 469 Maybe video by Cheryl Burnside

2017 06 23 00 32 30 MP4 I believe Patches 469 Maybe video by Cheryl Burnside

The Explore Recorder footage of the bear that could possibly be 469 fishing in closer proximity to the live cam begins at approximately 8:27 into this video :

Bear Cam - Brooks Falls Cam 06-23-2017 21 00 03 - 21 59 52

Bear Cam - Brooks Falls Cam 06-23-2017 21 00 03 - 21 59 52

Of note is the similarity of the bear in this July 2013 video by Jacob Lavee to the fishing style of the above bear when he was fishing in the same area in closer proximity to the live cam.

On June 23, 2017 Mike Fitz commented and shared a snapshot he captured of this bear after the bear changed fishing locations:

Cam viewer Shel gathered a wealth of additional information on this bear in this comment : (Thank you Shel)

On June 23, 2017 Shel gathered this information in this comment :

The bear observed on June 23, 2017 (1st snapshot) compared to July 2013 NPS photo of 469 and to July 2013 Explore video footage snips:   2nd snapshot of bear observed on June 23, 2017 ,  July 2013 Explore video snip #1 , July 2013 Explore video snip #2 , July 2013 Explore video snip #3  (These snapshots / phtoos / snip compare the left side):

Another (left side) June 23, 2013 snapshot by Shel of the bear observed on June 23, 2017 that was possibly 469 compared to a (left side) September 2012 NPS photo of 469 :

Shel documented comparison of the right side in this June 23, 2017 snapshot of the bear that could possibly be 469 compared to this (right side) July 2013 NPS photo of 469  and this June 23, 2017 snapshot compared to this (right side) July 2013 NPS photo of 469:  :

Shel also documented comparison of the head, front profile, and shoulder patch position in this snapshot of the bear observed on June 23, 2017 that could possibly be 469 to this (head / front profile / shoulder patch position) June 21, 2015 NPS photo by Ranger Mike Fitz :

On June 25, 2017, former KNP&P ranger Mike Fitz commented about Shel's June 23, 2017 documentation on the comparison of the bear observed on June 23rd to prior season documented NPS photos and Explore video footage of 469.

"That's a great comparative series of photos. I think the bear we watched on 6/23 shares many physical similarities with 469. I'm not convinced it is 469, but I'm leaning in that direction. I'd like to hear what Ranger Dave or Leslie have to say. "

Cam viewer, JG located and shared this Brooks Camp. Katmai National Park, June 2017 blog by Bear and Penguin Photography that includes a photograph of this bear from the same time period in June 2017.  If you scroll down in the blog to the photo below the photo of 128 Grazer grazering another bear, you will see the photo of the bear that could possibly be 469 taken by the park visitor that created the blog.


Park visitor, Ken Hikfiker captured footage of the bear that is possibly 469 beginning at approximately  4L44 into this video :

Katmai National Park Movie June 2017 video by Ken Hilfiker

Katmai National Park Movie June 2017 video by Ken Hilfiker

2018:

469 was included in the 2018 Bears of Brooks River book on page 74.

October 2018: There was a "brief sighting" of 469 in October of 2018. No photos are available and 469 did not appear on the bear monitor's list.

2019:

469 was included in the 2019 Bears of Brooks River Book on page 73.

August 2019:

2019.08.08:  Early in the morning on August 8, 2019, 469 appeared in the riffles. At the time it was not known who the bear was. 469 can be seen charging 151 Walker and then proceeding down towards Brooks Falls, video by Lani H. 469 had not been observed on the web cams except for a "possible" sighting in 2017, but was not on the Bear Monitor list for that year.

469 Patches has words with 151 Walker in riffles 8 8 2019, video by Lani H

469 Patches has words with 151 Walker in riffles 8 8 2019, video by Lani H

469 was observed 4 more times on 8/8/2019, at the falls (video by Lani H), with the unknown "Hump Bear" (video by Lani H) having words with 89 Backpack (video by Lani H) and in the evening on the lower river (video by mckate). 469 is noted to have numerous scars, a small white scar on top of his rump, above his left eye, and others on his face, chest and neck.

469 Patches at the falls 8 8 2019, video by Lani H

469 Patches at the falls 8 8 2019, video by Lani H

"hump" bear begs from 469 Patches 8 8 2019, video by Lani H

"hump" bear begs from 469 Patches 8 8 2019, video by Lani H

469 Patches has words with 89 Backpack 8 8 2019, video by Lani H

469 Patches has words with 89 Backpack 8 8 2019, video by Lani H

8 Aug 2019 469 Patches Walks Off Into the Sunset, video by mckate

8 Aug 2019 469 Patches Walks Off Into the Sunset, video by mckate

Mike Fitz narrated a Play-by-Play on 8/8/2019. At the end of the video (at 57:41) Mike Fitz discusses the return of 469 Patches to Brooks Falls after he had not been observed in a number of years.  Video by Brenda D is queued to begin at 57:41 in the above link.

08.08

08.08.2019 - Play by Play with Mike Fitz, video by Brenda D

2019.08.09:  On 8/9/2019, 469 Patches can be seen in the early morning fishing in the far pool with the unknown "Hump Bear", video by Lani H.

469 Patches in the far pool 8 9 2019, video by Lani H

469 Patches in the far pool 8 9 2019, video by Lani H

469 was seen for a 2nd time on 8/9/2019, fishing in the far pool with 480 Otis, video by Lani H .

469 Patches and 480 Otis in the far pool 8 9 2019, video by Lani H

469 Patches and 480 Otis in the far pool 8 9 2019, video by Lani H

2019.08.10: On 8/10/2019 68 and 469 interact in the jacuzzi with 68 eventually deciding to move out, video by Lani H 

469 Patches and 68 interactions over the jacuzzi 8 10 2019, video by Lani H

469 Patches and 68 interactions over the jacuzzi 8 10 2019, video by Lani H

Twice on 8/10/2019, 469 approached 747 in hopes of possibly pirating a fish. 469 settled for 747's scraps. Video #1 and video #2 by Lani H.

469 Patches and 747 have a discussion when 469 wants 747's fish 8 10 2019, video by Lani H

469 Patches and 747 have a discussion when 469 wants 747's fish 8 10 2019, video by Lani H

747 and 469 Patches have more words 8 10 2019, video by Lani H

747 and 469 Patches have more words 8 10 2019, video by Lani H

469 is seen in the jacuzzi on 8/10/2019. Subadult 812 passes by and 469 proceeds to chase him to the island where 469 proceeds to cowboy walk. There is no further interaction, video by Victoria White.

469 Patches chased 812 ~ 2019 08 10, video by Victoria White

469 Patches chased 812 ~ 2019 08 10, video by Victoria White

2019.08.11:  This 8/11/2019 video by Ratna Narayan shows 469 Patches sitting behind 747 in the jacuzzi hoping to obtain any fish scraps. 747 is clearly not pleased with 469 sitting behind him as can be observed towards the end of the video.

747, 480 Otis and 469 Patches in the J 8 11 2019, video by Ratna Narayan

747, 480 Otis and 469 Patches in the J 8 11 2019, video by Ratna Narayan

Also on 8/11/2019, 469 Patches was seen fishing on the lower river, video by Lani H.

469 Patches on the lower river 8 11 2019, video by Lani H

469 Patches on the lower river 8 11 2019, video by Lani H

On 8/11/2019 in response to a question in chat "When Patches was a regular, prior to his injury, was he a dominant bear? Looked like 68 yielded to him yesterday?" Mike Fitz replied:"469 is a large adult male, so given that fact alone he is going to rank high in the hierarchy. Most often 469 is only seen in early fall when food is more dispersed and bears aren't congregating at the falls as frequently. He's really never been a regular visitor to Brooks Falls in July. The only time he ever spent fishing at Brooks Falls in July was in 2013 when he had an injured leg which would have hindered his ability compete with other bears."





Known Courting & Mating:

Known Relatives:

At this time there are no known relatives of 469 "Digger" / "Patches",

Darting Attempts:

There were no darting attempts (successful or unsuccessful) by Ranger Michael Saxton in 2016 or 2017.  It is not known to us if 469 was darted in prior genetics studies done at KNP&P / Brooks Camp.

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