Sunday, July 30, 2023

Welcome Back Otis!!!!

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Behavior, Nature, Wildlife, Biological Evolution

Ed Hessler

"The happiest day of the year! Never count him out! WELCOME BACK OTIS!” -- Ann Emerson

"Emerson posted" this exclamation, writes Outsider's Jon D. B., after "filming Otis as he appeared live on her screen. ...  Like so many others, her post shot a bolt of joy through me as I wrapped up another day’s work (covering bears, no less). It was the elder brown bear’s first appearance of 2023, confirmation that this living legend is," well, still living, fishing again for salmon on the famed Brooks River of Katmai National Park & Preserve, AK.

Jon D.B.'s essay covers the life and times of Otis, a former Fat Bear contest winner (4 times, most recently 2021).  It is a short article. The link provides an excellent profile of Otis, aka 480.

Here is the link to the renowned Brooks River and Falls famous Bearcam(s) where you can read reader comments about all the bears and to Otis but it takes considerable scrolling. There are several cams including one underwater.

I had been concerned about Otis as well as about this year's fishing--fewer bears fishing, fewer salmon below the falls  and many fewer jumping to head upstream than in previous years. 
I admit to not checking as frequently as I have in the past to look especially for him, read comments from a dedicated and informed readership as well as to watch brown bears fish (several time-honed methods) and the hierarchy present at the favored fishing spots. And of course, there is the sound of the falls, sometimes the wind, the background sounds of visitors watching bears, seeing mothers and cubbies, and listening to the birds, especially the gulls.

Otis appears to me considerably thinner than in past seasons and certainly slimmer than he should be for this time of year. He has a well-earned reputation for being one heck of a fish catcher and for putting on the pounds/kilos over the summer.

It is good news and there is a strong hint of fewer bears devoting time to fishing and fewer fish being the result of climate change. I include the link to an article in the Washington Post about Otis and the bears but don't guarantee its transferrabilty. It was "given" to me, a link from a commenter on the Bearcam site. It made one transfer and I hope it will work for you.

Here is the publication information for the Washington Post article. Beloved grizzly Otis was again late for salmon season. Blame climate change,
and , Washington Post, July 29, 2023. It is not unusual for Washington Post articles to be printed in other newspapers and sometimes these are readily accessible. Worth a try if my link fails.

Good bear watching. Don't forget the Fat Bear contest this fall. Selections are made by viewers where you can also learn more about the each contestant.

Jon D. B. (Bumpus) is a senior writer for Outsider.
Gimmee and O, a T, an I, an S. Whattaya' got? Otis! Otis! Otis!
What good news!!!!!!

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