Grizzlies reveal ‘fancy footwork’

By | February 18, 2009

Grizzlies reveal 'fancy footwork'

They may look slow and clumsy, but underwater cameras have revealed that grizzly bears can perform some fancy footwork when a meal is on the cards.

A BBC team followed the bears as the annual salmon migration got underway.

They filmed them using their huge feet to deftly kick dead fish from deep pools into shallower water.

This behaviour, caught on camera for the first time, meant that the grizzlies could grab the fish without the bother of getting their ears wet.

Wildlife cameraman Jeff Turner said: “Most bears will do anything to avoid getting their ears wet – they hate it.”…

Eventually, Mr Turner decided to try a different approach.

He said: “At the end of the day, I just thought rather than rely on this remote technology, the bears seemed to be tolerating us pretty well, so I just stayed in the water and hand-held the camera on the end of the pole and followed them around with it.”

Standing just 2m 6ft away from the bears, Mr Turner was able to record the grizzlies’ clever footwork.

Mr Turner said: “The older, more experienced bears would look down and see where the fish was, and then they would kick it along the bottom with their feet until they got it into the shallows.

“And then they could just reach down and pick it up.

“I’ve seen this before from above the water, and you have a sense of what they are doing, but it is the first time that anyone has really seen what they are doing underwater.”

The team also managed to capture another rare sight – baby grizzlies emerging with their mother from their den high up in the Alaskan mountains.

Mr Turner said: “It is something I’ve been trying to do for over 10 years. It was a real treat to crack it.” – bbc

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