The salmon hike gives grizzlies a real holiday feast every year. (WDR / Phil Timpany / Omnifilm Entertainment)
High up in the icy northwest of Canada, on the Alaska border, lies Bear Cave Mountain – a mountain that has been home to grizzly bears and their cubs for many years. Among them lives Sophie, a young bear who is accompanied over a long period by Phil Timpany in the nature documentary “The Bear Mountain”. The documentary can now be seen for the first time as part of the ARD series “Erlebnis Erde”.
Phil Timpany is a veteran nature filmmaker: during his 35-year career, he has spent over 3,000 days interacting with grizzly bears. So it is hardly surprising that “The Bear Mountain” also offers an incomparably detailed insight into the life and development of Sophie. At the beginning she is an inexperienced female who, at nine years of age, is about to enter adulthood.
There is turf fighting between the grizzly bears on the Fishing Branch River. (WDR / Phil Timpany / Omnifilm Entertainment)
Three bears in the vastness of the Yukon
The camera follows them in search of food and hunting, capturing the natural wonder of the keta salmon: every year, it is learned, the fish embark on a journey of 2,000 kilometers upstream to spawn themselves at the place of their birth. Of course, Sophie and the other bears use the large number of fish to satisfy their own hunger before they go into hibernation for several months.
The landscape in the Canadian Yukon is not only breathtaking at dawn. (WDR / Phil Timpany / Omnifilm Entertainment)
But it is not just her own struggle for survival that Timpany documents with the camera. Rather, the wildlife filmmaker focuses on Sophie’s first really big task in life: raising her two cubs. Together, the three bears roam the seemingly endless expanse of the Yukon. Not only the special conditions of their natural habitat, but also the other bears pose a serious threat to the young animals. How uncertain is the future into which your small family will lead with the onset of winter?