Grizzlies thrive in some of the wildest places in North America, which is why they are so at home in the Yukon. For many people, grizzly bears are a symbol of wilderness, and no other wild animal captures our imaginations as much as they do. Grizzly bears inhabit the entire territory, from Kluane National Park to Herschel Island, and the continent’s healthiest, most genetically diverse population of grizzly bears is in Kluane.
The grizzly is a vulnerable species, and the Yukon provides a critical connection between the healthy northern population of grizzly and the more vulnerable one in the south. Huge omnivores whose lives revolve around a search for nutrient-rich food, their diet includes roots, berries, grasses, salmon and any moose or caribou calves they manage to capture. Yukon grizzly bears hibernate longer than southern grizzlies, usually entering a den in October and not emerging until April.
Elusive and very shy of people, grizzly bears are a memorable sight in the wilderness. Watch along Yukon roadways and while paddling or hiking to catch sight of Yukon’s ursine residents. Open vistas allow hikers to observe grizzlies at safe distances—Kluane National Park is an ideal area for safe bear viewing. River travellers are more likely to observe grizzlies, particularly in early spring and late fall. Salmon streams like the Tatshenshini, Big Salmon and Fishing Branch rivers can provide good grizzly viewing, however there are also increased risks involved in being in close proximity to bears at these times.
Under normal circumstances, bears go to great lengths to avoid humans and their activities. Ensure your safety—and the well-being of Yukon bears—by being bear aware.