Japanese photographer Shogo Asao, 60, came across these two brawling bears while exploring Alaska’s Katmai National Park. Located in southern Alaska, Katmai’s volcanic backcountry is famous for its brown bears. Photos: Shogo Aso/Photoshot/Solent
The male grizzlies started fighting after one of the big bruins tried to steal the other’s freshly-caught salmon. Asao had been hiking to a nearby waterfall when he spotted the bears on the path ahead of him. He grabbed his camera and snapped these photos as the fight unfolded.
At first the bears just watched one another and roared challenges, Asao told the Daily Mail. Then they stood up on their hind legs, clawing and swiping each other’s snouts. At one point, one of the grizzlies broke away and fled toward Asao until it was just 10 feet away. The second bear charged after it for a fresh attack.
“This is the first time I had seen such an exciting scene,” Asao told the Daily Mail. “I was so close to the violent animals that I felt like a dead man walking.”
Fortunately for Asao, the bears didn’t even notice him. The two male grizzlies fought for several minutes before moving the showdown off the road. They continued to exchange blows in the trees, and eventually disappeared into the forest. Asao said he could hear their roars echoing throughout the woods.
Wildlife experts estimate these male bears are about six years old. Mature male grizzlies in Katmai can weigh up to 900 pounds, and they mate from May to mid-July. According to the Department of Fish and Game, Alaska is home to an estimated 30,000 brown bears.
Japanese photographer Shogo Asao, 60, came across these two brawling bears while exploring Alaska’s Katmai National Park. Check out his amazing photo series here.