WATCH: Brown Bears Fight Over Whale Carcass in Alaska’s Katmai National Park

by Jon D. B.

The intense footage of two male Alaskan brown bears offers a rare glimpse at how powerful these giants of nature can be – only before escalating to a three-bear brawl.

Fellow Outsiders at Expedition Alaska have some remarkable footage to share – and that’s an understatement. The Alaskan wilderness team’s video has amassed well over 1 million views, and it’s all due to its subject matter: two enormous male brown bears duking it out.

Humans have long been fascinated with bears of all kinds: their sheer size, power, ferocity, and beauty captivating us for millennia. As such, it’s no surprise – come the onset of the Age of Information – that they should become the subject of some of our most-watched content. And after watching the footage for yourself, it’s easy to see why other wildlife enthusiasts are quickly circulating the sparring match online.

Giant Alaskan Brown Bears Duke it Out over Whale Carcass

“These 2 large male brown bears had been strutting and posturing and peeing and rubbing, jaw clacking, and carrying on, generally chest-pounding, trying their best to intimidate one another, for near 20 minutes,” begins Expedition Alaska of their footage – posted to their YouTube channel for millions to see. “During this time, a few other smaller bears had come in and started feeding on the carcass, including this sow and her single yearling cub.”

The footage starts out a bit slower with the posturing above. It doesn’t take long, however, for one of the outlying males to come in and stir up all kinds of trouble.

“One of the males came down and began to feed as well, but didn’t seem unduly concerned about the sow/cub on the other side of the whale carcass, EA notes. “Finally the 2nd male came down, with that classic side-stepping strutting gait, and headed straight for the female. Her cub bails, and rather than follow suit, she gets defensive.”

This is when the true fighting begins. Between the three enormous bears, six-inch claws fly wildly. “The power is pretty impressive,” EA continues. “Watch how far backward she goes each time. And incredibly deft footwork for her .. if she didn’t maintain her balance, she’d have been in bigger trouble.”

“Then, amazingly,” the explorers add, “[the] first male rushes in and attacks the other boar. Surprise is half the battle, and he gets a good grip. Both try to gain a real per hand. Watch the move the 2nd boar makes (see the slow-mo) with his right front paw, trying to “Sweep the leg”, right before they separate.”

WATCH: All-Out Alaskan Brown Bear Brawl

Ready to see these titans of nature duke it out? Watch below, courtesy of Expedition Alaska‘s YouTube channel.

As you watch, however, keep an eye out for the deliberate movements and behaviors of the brown bears as they engage one another. “After they separate, see how slowly and stiffly the 2 move around each other, super cautious,” EA notes. “Movement, and HOW we move, is SOOO important for communication with these animals. When the one male moves his hind leg just a little abruptly, the other male swings his head back around defensively.”

“I tell folks on trips all the time, how we move when we’re close to bears is super critical,” Expedition Alaska rounds out. “Best is NOT to move, but if you/we DO move, take a lesson from this in how they respond.”

As for how they recommend acting around brown bears? “Slow, cautious and steady, they like – ANY sudden or jerky movement and they get real toey. And the last thing I want to do when a big ole bear is close by is upset him.”

As another Outsider with his own bear encounters under his thankfully-still-very-much-alive belt, I have to wholeheartedly agree.

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[H/T Expeditions Alaska]