, 2022-10-23 17:30:00,
Years ago, bear researcher Charles Robbins noticed something strange in Alaska.
The Washington State University wildlife biology professor was studying bears during the fall, a time when the big ursines have essentially unlimited access to salmon. Salmon, a fish so dense in calories and nutrients that entire human cultures have congregated around the ocean-going species.
For the hibernation-preparing bears, the yearly fish bonanza is key to packing on pounds to get through the long winter.
Yet despite all that abundance, Robbins noticed the bears were spending upward of eight hours a day eating berries and, during those times, totally ignoring the flopping fish.
“Salmon are just loaded with protein. Loaded with energy. A very complete diet. Whereas the berries are a very incomplete diet,” Robbins said. “They were working their tails off (to get the berries) and it didn’t make any sense to us.”
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