【Series】Spirits of the the Kamuy landscape (6) – brown bear cub learns to live by copying its mother

A brown bear mother and cub eat a salmon together

As winter approaches on the Shiretoko peninsula, near the estuary of a river several meters wide, a brown bear catches a chum salmon as it swims up the river, and begins to eat.
For the brown bears that inhabit Shiretoko, salmon and trout are an important source of protein during the time of winter hibernation refrain. A bear cub copies its mother’s actions, leaping on fish that swim in the water, but the hunt is unsuccessful. As the mother bear catches a fish, the cub approaches her, pestering for food. The mother offers the leftover salmon.
As male brown bears do not take part in the rearing of the young, the bond between the mother and cub is strong. Born in the winter hibernation den, a cub spends over a year doing everything with its mother. Many of the wild animals that inhabit Hokkaido become independent from their mothers several months after birth, but a mother bear and her cubs spend a long time together. Cubs learn from the actions of their mothers how to live, according to the season, by eating vegetation, insects and the like.
The mother bear and cub will enter the hibernation den together before winter in Shiretoko begins in earnest.


Shiretoko peninsula