Feeding the bears

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Oregon State University researchers working in Alaska’s Bristol Bay have now documented what has been obvious to many bear biologists for a long time: small salmon streams are important to big bruins.

Forget those iconic photos of grizzlies snatching salmon from the falls at the McNeil or Brooks rivers. According to the work of Johnathon Armstrong and colleagues, the streams a full-grown grizzly can jump across appear more important.

“Small populations of salmon (contributed) roughly half of total bear consumption while representing only one‐fifth of total salmon escapement,” they reported after studying the Wood River drainage in Southwestern Alaska.

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