For Tania Lewis, being a Glacier Bay wildlife biologist is anything but a dull occupation. Lewis sees bears on a daily basis as they travel up and down the shoreline looking for food as they walk. That will grab your attention. Lewis also says that in her studies of these majestic animals, life for a bear is one of feast or famine, and it’s usually dependent on where in the bay they find themselves.
Most of the bears enjoy a steady diet of rye grass and other plants in the Spring, but as strawberries enter into season, Lewis says the bears begin to live high on the hog. But make no mistake, the bears of Glacier Bay aren’t vegetarians. They scavenge the carcasses other animals, eat the barnacles and mussels at low tied, and even small fish called “blennies.” Lewis also says that there’s something of a mystery about the bears of Glacier Bay, as mothers hibernate in the high country where they give birth to their young. And usually, the bear cubs aren’t seen until mid summer. From Black Bears who can be slightly blueish, to Brown Bears that can be everything from blonde to dark brown, the bears of Glacier Bay are a challenge to identify. Lewis says one thing is certain, to see a bear, you have to look closely and most often you’ll see them along the shoreline.
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Listeners can download all 16 of the Glacier Bay podcasts, or only a specific audio file, onto a personal iPod, MP3 or portable media player before embarking on a Holland America Line Alaska cruise to Glacier Bay. Preloaded podcasts on iPods also are available on board for checkout. To access the complete “Glacier Bay Ranger Podcast Anthology” click here.
Paul Lasley and Elizabeth Harryman, travel writers, broadcasters and regular contributors to the Holland America blog, worked with the National Park’s rangers, scientists and naturalists to allow you this rare insider’s view into the science and wild beauty of Glacier Bay National Park.