This page includes the official park service staff given nicknames that are known to us.
The bears of Brooks River receive their official nicknames from KNP&P bear monitors and on rare occasions other KNP&P rangers have influenced the nickname of a bear (examples: 151 Walker, 503 Cubadult)
Other helpful information / resources:
Not all bears known to utilize the Brooks River area of KNP&P receive an identification number or a nickname.
Not all bears that are classified and receive an identification number will receive a nickname.
Page 18 of the Bears of Brooks River 2017 book provides some additional information:
Page 21 of the Bears of Brooks River 2017 book (link above) provides some additional information on monitoring the bears:
Cam viewer, Shel has gathered the following resources where the bear monitor and rangers discuss bear nicknames:
Ranger Leslie Skora (current KNP&P Wildlife Biologist ~ 2017, former KNP&P bear monitor 201? - 2017) talks about nicknames in this September 2016 live chat with Ranger David Kopshever (link altered so video begins near the discussion of nicknames) .
Ranger Michael Fitz discusses To Name or Not To Name in this May 7, 2015 KNP&P blog .
Ranger Michael Fitz discusses Why National Parks Can't Ignore Individual Animals in this January 20, 2016 KNP&P blog .
Ranger David Kopshever discusses Why Numbers and Not Names in this September 6, 2017 play-by-play segment captured on video by cam viewer, Martina.
Below is some information on how some of the individual brown bears of Brooks River got their official nickname:
1 Diver got his name because he was often observed diving for fish. Note 1 Diver is no longer observed at Brooks Camp. 1 Diver was last observed in 2000 when he was believed to be 35 years old. (Believed to be deceased)
6 Headbob (aka Bullet) (aka Satulik) is a bear that had a few nicknames. In 1986 he was nicknamed Satlulik, but we don't know why. From 1988 - 1994 and from 2001 - 2005 he was nicknamed Bullet by T. Olson to reflect his disposition in the late 1980s. From 1998 - 2001 and from 2006 - 2009 he was nicknamed Headbob because when he was observed fishing in his preferred fishing spot at the top lip of the falls in July he would sometimes be seen holding his head out with his neck extended, then raising (bobbing) his head upward once or twice in quick succession as if sniffing the air. 6 Headbob was last observed in 2009 and was nearly 30 years old at that time. (Believed to be deceased)
14 Cubless see 410 below.
16 Cinnamon's nickname was inspired by the cinnamon-brown color of his coat.
24 BB (Bald Butt)' his shed pattern would leave him with a bald butt. Note 24 BB is no longer observed at Brooks Camp
45 Tatonka, when he was younger, had an odd profile that reminded a former bear monitor of the outline of a bison.
51 Diver, Jr was given the nickname because he will dive completely underwater to fish like 1 Diver. There is no known relation to 1 Diver.
83 & 868 Wayne Brothers, they had big batman like ears when they were cubs. Bruce Wayne does not have a brother, but that is the origin of 83 & 868's names.
89 Backpack got his name in 2006 when he was a spring cub from riding on 435 Holly's back when he was a cub. The name stuck when he became an independent subadult. (Note: His leg injury was in 2007 when 89 was a yearling.)
128 Grazer was given her name by the bear monitor before Ranger Leslie Skora because she was constantly observed grazing as a subadult. It was a nickname the former bear monitor used to help her remember the bear, and she never realized the name would become so widely known as it was assigned before the bearcams existed.
130 Tundra got her name because she had a sibling that was very light colored named Arctic, they were trying to come up with a name for 130 that would go with Arctic, someone mentioned Tundra, and it stuck. Note 130 Tundra is deceased (2014)
151 Walker got his name from his dark eye rings and their reminding people of a zombie. Ranger Mike Fitz had some influence with naming 151.
175 Chowmane see 410 below.
218 Ugly: 218 Ugly's nickname was inspired by his early season shedding pattern. However, when 218 Ugly's new coat grows in, he is quite the handsome bear. Does a nickname like Ugly really fit a bear like 218 when shedding is a temporary circumstance all brown bears endure?
219 One-Toe was missing the outermost claw on his left front paw. One-Toe also had white claws. Note: 219 One-Toe is deceased (2008)
234 Evander lost his left ear between late 2001 and spring 2002, four to five years after Evander Holyfield lost his ear (June 28, 1997) in the 3rd round of a fight with Mike Tyson II. While Mike Tyson biting Evander Holyfield's ear off during a boxing match is one of the most shocking moments in sports history, it is not an uncommon event to happen in the world of brown bears.
236 Milkshake according to former KNP&P bear biologist, Tamara Olson, 236 Milkshake got her nickname because of the size of her teats. 236 Milkshake can be observed at approximately 7:53 into this video by Stu Davidson which shows a " glimpse of her large teats. that resulted in her nickname". This September 2010 photograph of 236 Milkshake also provides an additional view of her large teats.
247 Snaggletooth's nickname was inspired by his protruding lower-left canine tooth. As early as 2000 observers at Brooks River reported that his namesake tooth had “been this way for many years” and it did not seem to affect his ability to fish.
274 Overflow was nicknamed Overflow because he is the offspring of 438 Flo.
409 Beadnose got her name due to the shape of her nose, upturned nose
410 Four-ton has had a few nicknames over the years. In 1992. 410 was nicknamed Chowmane (ID #175), but we are unsure why. In 1996, 410 was nicknamed Cubless (ID # 14), in 1996 410 was observed with a spring cub that died and 410 was observed burying the cub on the beach. In 2006, 410 was nicknamed Four-ton because of her ID #410 and she was a large female bear, a play on words derived from her ID number. 2006 was the only year that 410 was ever referred to as Four-ton. The nickname Four-ton was not used after 2006.
438 Flo reminded the bear biologist of Flo on the TV show Alice. 438 had very white claws. Flo on Alice apparently had a very fine manicure. Note 438 Flo is no longer observed at Brooks Camp.
480 Otis, the origin of his name is not known, it is not recorded in the bear monitoring data base. Sometimes names are just given arbitrarily and Ranger Mike said that he would be willing to bet that is the case with Otis...someone just liked that name Otis. On 7/4/2019 during a Play-by-Play at Brooks Falls, Mike Fitz explained how 480 got his nickname . Mike said "This is number 480, he is nicknamed Otis. He got that nickname actually because of the shape of his ears, just oval shaped ears. Maybe it doesn't make that much sense to go from oval shape to Otis but that is how he got his nickname."
489 Ted his nickname is short for “Triangle-EareD”.
500 “Indy”, the number assigned to her by the bear monitor, Ranger Leslie Skora was 500. 500 just happened to be the next number to be assigned for the 2014 season. 500 was often observed by the park staff running around the lower Brooks River and with a number like 500, Indy just became a name used for her. (Indianapolis 500)
503 Cubadult: The name came about in 2014 when he was an abandoned yearling. Staff at Brooks Camp needed something succinct to refer to him since he was around so much. Ranger Mike Fitz thinks Rangr Roy came up with the nickname. On May 12, 2017, Mike Fitz said : "Seriously though, I'd be hesitant to change that nickname because it is directly related to his story, unlike many other nicknames which are strange or cutesy and aren't related to their life history (Otis, Grazer, Tundra, Arctic, etc)."
634 Popeye's nickname was inspired by his large furry forearms...front legs...like Popeye's large arms in the cartoon.
708 Amelia was nicknamed in her subadult years because of her propensity to disappear.
747 "Colbert" was randomly assigned that number when he was first identified...it is just coincidence that he is large like a 747. The nickname "Colbert" is not officially listed in the Bears of Brooks books, but does appear on 747's page of the KNP&P Flickr Galleries.
Ranger Roy Wood provides some insight into how 747 got this nickname Colbert at approximately 23:38 into this live chat from Luray, Virginia on November 8, 2017 747's Colbert nickname was inspired by the ear imperfection he shares with Stephen Colbert. 747's right ear was a little different than his left ear, it wasn't symmetrical, it sort of stuck out a little bit. If you watch Stephen Colbert you will see that his ear also has a little outward, downward...it's different from his other ear. 747's misshapen ear was an identificaiton tool the rangers used to identify 747 before he grew into his identificaiton number. Stephen Colbert points out a lot that his ears don't match up, so rangers using Colbert to remind them which bear was 747 when trying to identify the bears probably does not hurt Stephen's feelings. After 747 lost the 2021 Fat Bear Week competition during season 7 of Late Night with Stephen Colbert, Stephen Colbert learned why 747 is nicknamed "Colbert" (the 2021 Fat Bear Week segment begins at approximately 8:00 into the video).
755 Scare D. Bear got his name because as a smaller, younger bear, he was easily displaced and would avoid most other bears. 755 is an example of how the bears change as individuals. By 2015, 755 had become a medium-large adult and with his size was able to hold his position more often against other large bears. It seems he has matured into a sizeable bear that can compete more often for space at the falls. 755 also approaches the platform side of the river more often in recent years.
814 Lurch, when he was younger was tall and thinner, and would stand off to the side while other bears fished. He reminded one of the bear biologists of Lurch on the Addams Family. Note: 814 Lurch is deceased (2016)
854 Divot got her name because she used to dig holes (divots) on the beach of Naknek Lake in the spring. Until all of the ice melts, the beach of Naknek Lake is the runway that the park plane lands on, which created problems with landing on the beach - rougher landing and coming to a stop without hitting one of her divots / holes.
868 Wayne Brother - see 83 Wayne Brother above. Note: 868 Wayne Brother is deceased (2015)