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Anan Wildlife Observatory - Alaska

We headed out from Wrangell with Mark Galla from Alaska Peaks and Seas to the Anan Wildlife Observatory on 21 July. The observatory, 30 miles to the south east of Wrangell, is accessible by boat and managed by the US Forestry Service, who restrict the number of visitors each day during the salmon spawning season, so the bears, whilst habituated to people, remain completely wild.

Anan is one of the few places where both black and brown bears feed at the same creek at the same time, although we saw little tolerance of the black bears by the brown ones, who chased them off. We arrived early afternoon and for the first hour or so saw no bears, but an abundance of bald eagles. Then a black bear came down from the hill opposite, caught and ate two fish in quick succession. The eagles and crows are pretty gppd at cleaning up after the bears.

We were then lucky enough to see a brown bear mum and her three cubs, followed by another brown bear lacking fishing skills and easily distracted - there are a few photos below which, if you look closely, show the salmon jumping out of his way.

We watched the bears for a good 4 hours and just as we were heading out a large brown bear decided to climb up the bank next to the look-out spot. Another black bear was on our path as we headed back to the boat, but moved off when he saw so many of us coming down the path.

A truly amazing experience and a trip I would recommend to anyone.

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