WATCH: Infamous Grizzly Bear Nicknamed ‘The Boss’ Spotted in Banff National Park

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Mark Perry/Getty Images)

Recently, a wildlife photographer in Banff National Park spotted fresh grizzly bear tracks between the park and Lake Louise. The tracks belonged to none other than The Boss, or bear 122. Jason Leo Bantle drove towards Lake Louise and then noticed something in the distance.

“There was a bear digging underneath a log, with dirt flying behind it,” Bantle told CBC News. “He just popped his head up and I got a couple of shots.”

The bear is an amazing specimen. Rugged, huge, and perfectly intimidating, The Boss is one heck of a grizzly. The Boss is instantly recognizable because of his size and his distinct ears: one of them seems to be torn off, like he’s been seriously injured in the past. He is also regarded as one of the most dominant grizzlies in the park.

The Boss weighs between 650 and 700 pounds and is definitely not a bear you’d like to meet face to face. Apparently, his territory measures 2,500 square kilometers. His list of impressive feats doesn’t stop there. He’s defeated his competition and even eaten a black bear. Additionally, he was once hit by a train. That hasn’t scared him off from roadways and train tracks for traveling and foraging, though.

Bantle was on his way to Jasper but decided to sit and wait to see if The Boss would show up again. Sure enough, around sunset, The Boss made his way through the meadow. “It was surreal,” said Bantle. “He is such a beautiful bear.”

The Boss Truly Lives Up to His Name as the Toughest, Gnarliest Grizzly Bear in Banff National Park

The conservation director of the Alberta Wilderness Association, Carolyn Campbell, told CBC News that photos like these are good reminders of the importance of grizzly bear habitat and population conservation.

“What a privilege that we can see photos of such a magnificent grizzly bear. He’s just a big old male bear with such a life history,” said Campbell. “It’s wonderful that he’s been able to live this long, and that we have professional photographers that can help us learn and love these bears around us.”

Campbell urges Albertans to be mindful of bear habitats, staying respectful and giving the areas space. Additionally, she reminds park visitors to be careful about how they store and dispose of food. That way, visitors can help reduce human-bear conflicts. A good note for Albertans, but also for anyone visiting a national or state park, or anyone who lives in bear country.

As for The Boss, in 2020 another wildlife photographer captured images of the legendary bear locked in battle with a rival, bear 136, nicknamed Split Lip. That bear is so named because of his disfigured mouth. Split Lip has also been seen devouring a black bear, just like The Boss, seemingly annihilating the competition.