Year First Identified: 2006 as spring cub, 2008 as independent subadult
Offspring Of: 435 Holly
Genetics Study Samples Obtained: There were no darting attempts (successful or unsuccessful) of 89 Backpack by Ranger Michael Saxton in 2016, 2017, or 2018.
2012 Brown Bears of Brooks Camp iBook: 89 is a medium-small young adult. He has a distinctive face with dark, round eye-rings and a straight muzzle. His coat is usually very blonde, but it does darken in the fall.
2014 Bears of Brooks River book: 89 Backpack is a medium-sized young adult bear. He has a distinctive face with dark, round eye-rings and a straight muzzle. His coat is usually very blonde, but it does darken in the fall.
2015 - 2018 Bears of Brooks River books: 89 is a medium-sized young adult bear. He has a distinctive face with dark, round eye rings and a straight muzzle. His coat is usually dark blond in early summer, but it changes to a grizzled, dark blond or brown in the fall.
Young male bears like 89 sometimes look small compared to older adult males, but 89 is not small . He has grown significantly since 2008 and likely will grow much more as he continues to mature.
2012 Brown Bears of Brooks Camp iBook: For a young bear, he seems tolerant of other bears, even at Brooks Falls. He will come to Brooks Falls in July, but is not yet able to compete with other bears for fishing spots. Instead, 89 will scavenge fish from older bears. During early July 2012, 89 was frequently observed traveling and playing with 130 Tundra.
2014 Bears of Brooks River book: 89 seems tolerant of other bears, even at Brooks falls. He will fish at Brooks Falls in July, but is usually displaced by larger, more mature males. 89 will scavenge fish from older bears.
2015 - 2018 Bears of Brooks River books: He seems tolerant of other bears, even at Brooks Falls. He will fish at Brooks Falls in July, and like many young adult males he is ascending the hierarchy of bears at Brooks River, but is still displaced by larger, more mature males. Young male bears like 89 sometimes look small compared to older adult males, but 89 is not small . In July 2014, 89 would regularly fish at Brooks Falls near much larger bears that tolerated his presence. He can be a playful bear too. In 2014 and 2015, for example, he was seen play fighting with 32, 151, 274, and 474.
89 is one of the falls well known bears his mother is 435 Holly and 89 Backpack was born in 2006. He was first observed as an independent bear in 2008.
2006: Spring Cub with 435 Holly, Speculated
89 Backpack is the 2006 offspring of 435 Holly, her 1st known litter.
2006.06.??: 435 Holly and her spring cub, 89 Backpack, can be seen beginning at 5:37 into this video by Jose Vigano:
2006.07.13: Photographer Bonney captured these photos (#1 435 Holly , #2 435 Holly standing on hind legs in the Brooks River , #3 spring cub 89 Backpack , #4 435 Holly with spring cub, 89 Backpack , #5 spring cub, 89 Backpack standing on his hind legs , #6 435 Holly standing on hind legs in the river & #7 435 Holly in the river ) of 435 Holly and spring cub, 89 Backpack. 2006.07.17: Park visitor and cam viewer, CathieL observed and photographed a very nervous first time mom 435 Holly and her spring cub 89 Backpack treed in Brooks Camp near Brooks Lodge.
Please request CathieL's permission prior to using her photos!
2007: Yearling with 435 Holly, Speculated
As a yearling in 2007 89 Backpack injured his right front leg and limped noticeably throughout the summer, 435 Holly would wait for him to catch up as they walked. By the early fall, his leg appeared to be healed. As a yearling cub, 89 was very recognizable and as a result he is one of the few bars whose mother, 435 Holly, is known.
89 Backpack and 435 Holly can be seen at 1:22 into this video by GrizBear44
By the fall of 2007 his leg was healed and the leg did not seem injured in 2008. Just shows how resilient bears are.
During the 2007 season yearling, 89 Backpack was observed playing with one of 410's spring cubs. Former KNP&P Ranger Mike Fitz shared this information on July10, 2017.:
"Cubs from different litters rarely interact, but we've seen it happen before at the river. When 89 Backpack was a yearling in 2007, for example, we saw him play with one of 410's spring cubs."
In early summer 2007, 435, nicknamed Holly, arrived with a yearling cub. The cub was limping noticeably, and it would put no weight on one of his front legs. With impaired mobility, this bear family was competitively disadvantaged. #435 would not visit Brooks Falls to fish and the cub would not be able to flee any threats.
435 and yearling (89 Backpack) modified their behavior to deal with the injury. 435 reacted to her yearling’s limited mobility by fishing around the mouth of Brooks River where larger, more aggressive bears are less frequently seen. She also appeared to move more slowly to allow the injured yearling to keep pace.
2008: 2.5 Year-Old Subadult, 1st Year Identified as Independent Subadult
89 Backpack's 2007 front leg injury was not noticeable in 2008, which was his first summer as an idependent subadult. This is another example of the resilient nature of bears and their ability to persevere through significant injuries.
On September 30, 2017 Mike Fitz (former KNP&P ranger) commented about how bear skulls change shape as the bear ages:
"Bear skulls change shape as they age. I didn't tend to see this change as something sudden. It was more gradual. This is most noticeable when you compare the relative location of ears on subadult bears and cubs to adults. Ears on young bear are generally higher on their head. As bears grow into adults, their skull widens and the ears sort of slide more toward the sides as you can see in these photos of 89 Backpack in 2008 and 2015 respectively.
In general, the ears on older subadult bears and young adult bears (4.5-6.5 years-old) remain relatively high on their head. From what I've observed, the change in ear position is much more noticeable as they approach full maturity after a few more years of growing."
Below is the 2008 photo of 89 Backpack that Mike Fitz shared in that comment (note: the 2015 photo of 89 Backpack that Mike Fitz shared on 09/30/2017 is below in the 2015 section):
2009: 3.5 Year-Old Subadult
2010: 4.5 Year-Old Subadult
4.5 year-old subadult 89 Backpack can be seen in this video by Timberpak Video Productions - Ken Roggow. Here is their description of the video: "The salmon run is over and many of the bear have left Brooks Falls. We now find a mother, her cubs and a young sub-adult bear at the falls. The few adult bear, due to their fustration in trying to find some salmon, are more intent on chasing the young bear than pursuing their futile attempt at finding salmon.":
2011: 5.5 Year-Old
2012: 6.5 Year-Old Adult Male
89 Backpack was included in the 2012 Brown Bears of Brooks Camp iBook.:
2012.07.xx: 89 Backpack at Brooks Falls video by 5831a:
On April 11, 2017, Mike Fitz commented at 08:15 and identified the bears in the above video by endoplasmic1357.
2013: 7.5 Year-Old Adult Male
89 Backpack has grown significantly since 2008 and likely will grow much more as he conitnues to mature.
In July 2013, 89 Backpack would regularly fish at Brooks Falls near much larger bears that tolerated his presence.2013.07.07: 89 Backpack alamy stock photo by Sekar Balasubramanian
2013.07.14: Katmai Terrane Blog: The Resilient Bear by Ranger Michael Fitz.
89 Backpack and 32 Chunk video by Expeditions Alaska (the trailer):
This is the information provided with the video:
"I'll put a clip of the highlights from this bout together shortly; in the meantime, here's the trailer for it!
I watched these 2 grizzly bears scrap for over an hour .. I shot mostly stills but collected some video as well. I wish I'd been able to shoot both. Amazing treat to watch."
This may be the video of the highlights mentioned above:
Here is the information provided with this video:
"Here's the video of these 2 grizzly bears fighting. These grizzly bears aren't really fighting, just playing around, like 2 friends wrestling. I should've shot more video, but switched to my still cameras for some photos. The bears wrestled and sparred for over an hour, which is pretty unusual for grown adult male grizzly bears, especially this late in the year - they're usually concerned primarily with eating in the fall.
I've photographed both of these boars for nearly 10 years now, it was fun to watch them bump into each other and, like old friends, start to play. Generally, adult male grizzly bears aren't considered to be very sociable toward one another, but I've seen this kind of behavior a number of times.
After they wound down, they went on about their business (catching salmon), in separate directions. A few days later they passed each other again with not so much as a glance toward each other. Who knows what was different about this particular time.
This is from my Grizzlies in the Fall Photo Tour, to Katmai National Park, 2013.
Grizzly bears in this area are also known as brown bears; same species.
Love to hear your thoughts and comments on the video.
2013.09.19: Ranger Jeanne's photos (#1 , #2 & #3 ) of 89 Backpack. 2013.09.24: Juergen's gif of 89 Backpack. When Juergen shared the gif in the comments, here is what Juergen had to say: "89 Backpack fishing the Riffles, and the Brooks falls and is cleaning the falls....LOL"
October 2013:video by Linda Jett.:
2013.10.05: 89 Backpack video by Linda Jett.:
2013.10.09: 89 Backpack video by JBirdyHome:
2013.10.10: 89 Backpack video by Janie Nook:
2014: 8.5 Year-Old Adult Male
89 Backpack was included in the 2014 Bears of Brooks River book on page 17,:
2014 Season or Prior:
2014 or prior: 89 Backpack outside of the Brooks Camp Visitor Center. KNP&P video published January 28, 2015.
2014.06.17: Bears commonly walk through Brooks Camp. These two young adults spent an hour wandering around camp (keeping rangers busy and people entertained). These photos were taken from inside of the Brooks Camp Visitor Center.. 89 Backpack (the bear closest to the photographer) is a 8 year old male. 130 Tundra is 7 year old female.
In July 2014, 89 Backpack would regularly fish at Brooks Falls near much larger bears that tolerated his presence. He can be a playful bear too. In 2014, for example, he was seen play fighting with 32, 151, 274, and 474.
2014.07.??: 89 Backpack courting 289 in this video by Hermosa Paul.:
2014.07.??: 89 Backpack with his fish being chased by another bear (who ?, 92 Enigma maybe?) video (published July 24, 2014) by laddnshirl:
2014.07.19: 89 Backpack snapsho t by Lingo.
2014.07.22: 89 Backpack on the beach of Naknek Lake video by JBirdyHome.:
2014.07.23: In this first episode of As The River Churns, 128 Grazer swoops in and steals a kiss from 89 Backpack, who is left in a state of discombobulation.128 Grazer kisses 89 Backpack video by DTB.:
2014.09.03: 89 Backpack video by JoeBear:
2014.09.05: For nearly an hour around 9 or 10 in the morning 89 Backpack and 32 Chunk indulge in some fun playing video by JBirdyHome:
Bears 32 Chunk (darker brown) and 89 Backpack (grizzled brown) spar in an extended play fight. This play fight last for nearly 20 minutes. Young, well fed bears that are tolerant of one another will often play flight. This play mimics the motions of real fighting between bears. These young males are ascending the bear hierarchy each summer. It is quite possible that they will be fighting for real over fish or females in the next few years."
Ranger Jeanne's flickr album with 21 photos of 89 Backpack and 32 Chunk play fighting on September 7, 2014.
Ranger Jeanne;s flickr album with 26 photos of 89 Backpack and 32 Chunk play fighting on September 7, 2014.
89 Backpack and 32 Chunk wrestlemania video by JoeBear:
2014.09.07 - 2014.09.14: Juergen's flickr album containing 94 snapshots taken of 89 Backpack between September 7, 2014 and September 14, 2014.
2014.09.08: 89 Backpack gif created by Juergen.
2014.09.11: 89 Backpack rematch with 32 Chunk video by JoeBear:
89 Backpack on his rock video by Tzz Oha:
89 Backpack eating salmon with the magpies and ravens. One of the magpies jumps up on 89 Backpack's back. Video by Tzz Oha:
2014.10.16: Jen shared these snapshots (#1 & #2 ) of 89 Backpack on his rock. Jen also shared this snapshot of 89 Backpack on his rock. Jen then shared this snapshot of 89 Backpack on his rock. Jen found this snapshot of 89 Backpack on his rock. Jen's 6th snapshot of 89.:
2014.10.20: 89 Backpack and 32 Chunk play on the beach snapshots by Larinor:
2015: 9.5 Year-Old Adult Male
89 Backpack is included in the 2015 Bears of Brooks River book on page 54.:
89 Backpack can be a playful bear. In 2014 and 2015, for example, he was seen play fighting with 32, 151, 274, and 474. On September 30, 2017 Mike Fitz (former KNP&P ranger) shared this 2015 photo of 89 Backpack (see above for the 2008 photo and other information in the 2008 section).
2015.??.??: 89 Backpack video by Arlo Tol.:
July 2015:2015.07.01: Jen shared this snapshot of 89 Backpack and "Alice".:
Please request Anna-Marie AZ's permission prior to using her photographs!
Mike Fitz' photo of 89 Backpack (left) and 410 (right).
2015.07.05: Mike Fitz' photo of 89 Backpack (left) and 151 Walker (right) play fighting.
2015.09.??: 89 Backpack and 474 play fight video by ytb53151:
2015.09.09: 89 Backpack video by Victoria White:
89 Backpack snapshot by MrsBoomer:
2015.09.11: 854 Divot bluff charges 89 Backpack video by JoeBear:
89 Backpack and 854 Divot video by Victoria White.:
2015.09.15: 89 Backpack was observed at Brooks Falls .
89 Backpack playing with 474 (not 45 as originally thought) video by Victoria White.:
2015.09.16: Mike Fitz' photo of 89 Backpack sitting on his rock.
89 Backpack playing with 474 (not 45 Tatonka as originally thought) video by Victoria White.:
2015.09.17: 89 Backpack and 480 Otis video by Victoria White:
2015.09.19: 89 Backpack and 151 Walker playfighting in this video by Peter Photogram. Please note: There is no known relation between 89 Backpack and 151 Walker at this time. 89 Backpack and 151 Walker were both classified as adult males at the time this footage was captured.:
Explore Recorder video of 89 Backpack (beginning at 1:30 mark):Explore Recorder video of 89 Backpack:
2015.10.17: Juergen's gif of 89 Backpack.
2016: 10.5 Year-Old Adult Male
89 Backpack was included in the 2016 Bears of Brooks River book on page 64.:
89 Backpack KNP&P video :
89 Backpack photos from the evening of May 31, 2016 when Ranger Anela Ramos and Ranger David Kopshever observed 89 at the falls for approximately 30 minutes:
June 2016:2016.06.01: 89 Backpack 2016 Fat Bear Week Contest NPS photo :
2016.06.23: 89 Backpack courting 289 at approximately 11:30 AM AKDT in this video by Mickey Williams.:
89 Backpack and 289 courting and attempted mating information and photo from Ranger Daniel Lombardi:
2016.06.24 16:45: 435 Holly bluff charges 89 Backpack video by Mickey Williams:
2016.06.27 14:05: 89 Backpack is displaced by 814 Lurch video by Mickey Williams:
Ratna's video of 89 Backpack and 410 catching and eating fish.:
2016.06.29: 89 Backpack, 274 Overflow and 289 video by Ratna part 1.:
July 2016:2016.07.01: 89 Backpack snapsho t by Posting Real .:
2016.07.02: 89 Backpack and his mother 435 Holly fishing below Brooks Falls video by Brenda D:
89 Backpack eating his catch video by Brenda D:
2016.07.04 18:13: 89 Backpack naps in a belly hole on the North side of the Brooks River video by Mickey Williams:
89 Backpack fishing in the far pool video by Juergen:
12:16: 89 Backpack fishing the lip video by Mickey Williams:
16:39: 89 Backpack and 32 Chunk video by Mickey Williams:
89 Backpack above the falls and 32 Chunk below the falls video by Ratna:
89 Backpack was observed mating with 289 in the riffles. 89 and 289 were interrupted by 856 during their mating session.
89 Backpack and 289 the beginning video by Mickey Williams:
856 approaches and ends the mating session between 289 and 89 Backpack video by Mickey Williams. 856 was observed courting 289 later the same evening. (see 289's wiki page for video):
2016.09.09: 89 Backpack 2016 Fat Bear Week Contest NPS photo :
2016.09.13: Who(?) with 151 Walker and then 89 Backpack joins in on the fog fishing in the mist video by Ratna.:
2016.09.16: 856 displaces 89 Backpack from the far side near the log in the beginning of this video. At approximately 0:45 into this video by Melissa Freels 89 Backpack makes his way to his rock and then fishes around the island.:
2016.10.12: 2016 Fat Bear Week Contest Round 1.1: 89 Backpack vs 151 Walker
FatBearWeek begins with a matchup between two of Brooks River’s finest young bachelor bears: 151 Walker and 89 Backpack. These two up-and-coming young adults have been busy getting fat all year, for their winter survival and in an effort to rise the ranks of the bear hierarchy. The beefier these bears get, the better access they’ll have to preferred fishing locations next year. And that means they can get swoll even quicker. Bigger is definitely better in the bear world, but which of these two young bucks is fattening up best?
The votes are in! 151 Walker wins by a landslide: 698 to 154.
2017: 11.5 Year-Old Adult Male
89 Backpack is included in the 2017 Bears of Brooks River book on page 68.:
July 2017:2017.07.02: 89 Backpack fishing at the falls in the early morning with lots of salmon video by Arlene Beech.: 89 Backpack video by Victoria White:
2017.07.03: During the late night hours, approximately 22:32 of July 3, 2017, 89 Backpack was observed courting 402.
2017.07.04: 89 Backpack video by Rossetro:89 Backpack and who(?) (801 maybe ~ the 801 in the 2018 Bears of Brooks River book page 83) video by Ratna:
89 Backpack fishing alone below Brooks Falls video by Brenda D:
89 Backpack in featured for the majority of this Explore video beginning at approximately the 12:20 mark. (Note: 128 Grazer and her 3 yearlings are in the beginning of this video):: (The time noted on this video may be Pacific Time not Alaska Time)
Late night on July 4, 2017 (before 22:57 AKDT) 89 Backpack video by Ratna (not July 5, 2017):
2017.07.06: 89 Backpack successfully fishing on the North side of Brooks River below the falls video by Victoria White:
2017.07.07: 89 Backpack video by Ratna (July 7, 2017 not July 8, 2017):
2018: 12.5 Year-Old Adult Male
89 Backpack was included in the 2018 Bears of Brooks River book on page 69.:
Deanna Dittloff (aka deelynnd) created this video of 89 Backpack live cam observations during the 2018 season:
JG shared these snapshots (#1 , #2 , #3 , #4 , #5 ,#6 , #7 , #8 , #9 , #10 , #11 , #12 , #13 , #14 , #15 , #16 & #17 ) of 89 Backpack from the 2018 season taken between June 30, 2018 and July 15, 2018.:
A dust-up between 89 Backpack and 775 Lefty (starts at 1:05) can be seen in this 2018 video by Arturo de Frias.:
Arturo de Frias' website has a couple of pics fom the video.
2018.07.02: Ratna's video of 89 Backpack at the falls.:
2018.07.03: 89 Backpack video by Ratna:
2018.07.07 or PRIOR: Park visitor shantietjen posted this video of a contact interaction between 747 and 89 Backpack to their instagram on July 7, 2018.
2018.07.10: 89 Backpack and 128 Grazer video by Lani H.:
2018.09.15: 89 Backpack, 151 Walker and 503 Cubadult in the jacuzzi: Part 1 video by Birgitt.:Part 2 video by Birgitt:
2018.09.16 - 2018.09.22: Deanna Dittloff (aka deelynnd) created this video of highlights from September 16-22, 2018. 89 Backpack can be seen at 13:06 with 151 Walker and 503 Cubadult.:
2019: 13.5 Year-Old Adult Male
2019.06.26: For a brief period of time, 435 Holly, 89 Backpack (435 Holly's 2006 offspring) and 503 Cubadult (435 Holly's adopted 2014 yearling) were fishing in close proximity in the far pool; video by mckate:
How 89 Backpack Got His Nickname:
89 Backpack got his name in 2006 when he was observed riding on 435 Holly's back as a spring cub. Although this behavior has been observed by other sows and their cubs, the name stuck when 89 Backpack became an independent subadult. (Note: His leg injury was in 2007 when 89 was a yearling.)
Known Courting & Mating:
289: 89 was observed courting 289 in July 2014.
89 Backpack was observed courting 289 in July 2014 in this video by Hermosa Paul.
289: 89 was observed courting, and attempting mating with 289 on June 23, 2016:
89 Backpack was observed courting 289 on June 23, 2016 in this video by Mickey Williams.:
89 Backpack and 289 courting and attempted mating information and photo from Ranger Daniel Lombardi:
289: 89 mated with 289 on July 7, 2016
89 Backpack were observed mating in the riffles on July 7, 2016. The mating couple was interrupted by 856. See the 2016 Season Life History section above for snapshots of the mating couple by Jen. See the July 7, 2016 Life History section above for a video of the mating couple by Mickey WIlliams, and a video of 856 interrupting the mating couple by Mickey Williams..
402: 89 was observed courting 402 on July 3, 2017
During the late night hours, approximately 22:32 of July 3, 2017, 89 Backpack was observed courting 402.
Mother: 435 Holly
Father: Not Known
Half Sibling: 719 from 435 Holly's 2014 litter
Genetics Study Samples Obtained:
2016: None Known
There were no darting attempts (successful or unsuccessful) by Ranger Michael Saxton in 2016.
2017: None Known
There were no darting attempls (successful or unsuccessful) by Ranger Michael Saxton in 2017.
2018: None Known
There were no darting attempts (successful or unsuccessful) by Ranger Michael Saxton in 2018.
A special thank you to StMango for providing the individual NPS photos from the 2012 Brown Bears of Brooks Camp iBook, and to Xander-Sage for creating the gif from the NPS photos!
NEED TO MOVE THE INFO AND LINKS BELOW TO PROPER SECTIONS ABOVE:
ID Marks and Hints
He is very tolerant of other bears and is seen fishing in the far pool. He is climbing the hierarchy but still yields to larger more mature bears. He is also a very playful bear and has been seen play fighting with 151 Walker, 274 Overflow, 474, and 32 Chunk 89 Backpack and 32 Chunk play fight in water Backpack also has a rock named after him due to his sitting on the rock year after year. 89 Backpack on his rock 2013 , 89 Backpack on his rock 2014 , 89 Backpack on his rock 2016
More video's of 89 Backpack:
Photos of 89 Backpack: