Talk of the Rock: Bear Study in Southwest Kodiak


On today’s Talk of the Rock, host Kayla Desroches talks with the University of Montana’s Will Deacy and the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge’s Bill Leacock, who’ve been studying the bear population in southwest Kodiak for the last few years. They talk about salmon runs, bear diets, and the patterns they’ve observed in the area.

Edit 6/28: The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge would like listeners to know that the average, large, male Kodiak bear eats roughly 6,000 pounds of salmon, plus or minus 2,000 pounds.

Q & A

One listener asked how much of a Kodiak bear’s diet consists of marine mammals like whales. Bill Leacock from the Refuge has this answer:

We’ve haven’t been able to quantify that, but there are occasions when whale or other sea mammal carcasses wash up on beaches and, when this happens, some bears definitely take advantage of that food resource. Indeed, I’ve seen up to 17 bears on a whale carcass at one time.  But these are relatively rare occasions. [We] would like to be able to quantify this, but haven’t yet been able to.

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