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DIVER 1 PIC 1998 or PRIOR KNP&P FLICKR

1 Diver NPS photo from 1998 or prior

Adult Male ~ No Longer Seen

Year First Identified:  Unknown, likely in mid-70's per 2015 Bears of Brooks River book .

Year Last Observed:  2000 per October 5, 2000 article (see link below), 1999 per 2015 Bears of Brooks River book

Known Offspring Of:  Unknown


1 Diver was legendary as the first famous bear known to use the Brooks River as an essential food resource.  In the July 27, 2015 words of former Katmai National Park & Preseve ranger, Mike Fitz:  "There are many famous bears that have come and gone from Brooks River.  Before the cams Diver (1), Headbob (6), Milkshake (236), Cinnamon (16), BB (24), Goatee, and many, many others captured and held people's attention."    

Identification:

2015 Bears of Brooks River book:  Diver was a large adult male with golden-brown fur in July and dark brown fur in the fall. His muzzle was blocky and his ears were wide-set. He had a distinctive scar on his back from a wound he received in the late 1980s.

In the fall, he was often very fat—evidence that diving can be a lucrative fishing style.

Distinctive Behaviors:

He was nicknamed for his habit of diving, a technique he used much more than any other bear.

Diver was apparently skilled at diving at Brooks River in the 1970s. He would fish the jacuzzi at Brooks Falls in July, but diving allowed him to feed on salmon that were generally inaccessible to most other bears.

Life History:

Diver was an extremely long-lived bear and was estimated to be approximately 35 years old when he was last seen in 2000.

1 Diver is mentioned various times in At the Heart of Katmai: An Administrative History of the Brooks River Area, with Special Emphasis on Bear Management in Katmai National Park and Preserve 1912-2006 .  One of the times he is mentioned it states:

"By the 1980s, the number of Brooks River brown bears had escalated and a new generation of bears began to compete more aggressively with a growing number of anglers, even though the angler primarily coveted the rainbow trout. This new generation included individual bears that became recognizable to both staff and guests. Ester and Goatee, Cinnamon and Beauty, Panda and Grumps—each returned to the Brooks Falls year after year; mother bears arrived at the river each spring with cubs in tow. Before he disappeared in the late 1990s, Diver, a bear known for diving for salmon at the base of the falls, was probably the most famous, most photographed, and certainly the most beloved of the Brooks River bears. To visitors, these wild animals had become expected and permanent fixtures in the park."

KNP&P's flickr album contains a collection of NPS photos of the legendary 1 Diver.  The date the various photos were taken is unknown:

Park visitor, Ray Wood, captured 1 Diver at approximately 4:03 into this video :  (year footage filmed is unknown)

Alaskan Adventure - The Bears of Katmai (1 Diver can be seen at 4 03) video by park visitor Ray Wood

Alaskan Adventure - The Bears of Katmai (1 Diver can be seen at 4 03) video by park visitor Ray Wood

1988:

June 1988:

When 1 Diver was first observed at Brooks Camp in June 1988. he had a "gaping wound deep in the muscle of his back" .  

1991:

June 1991:

1 Diver was observed by park rangers emerging from a dive into the Brooks River with a beaver, a food resouce available to the bears prior to the return of the salmon.

1992:

September 1992:

1992.09.20:  Park visitor 1spooned captured footage of 1 Diver at 36:57 into this video :

Jim & Jim Fly Fishing Brooks River Katmai National Park Alaska September 1992 video by 1spooned

Jim & Jim Fly Fishing Brooks River Katmai National Park Alaska September 1992 video by 1spooned

1996:

1997:

July 1997:

1998:

Diver Cards Program:

The following information is from At the Heart of Katmai:  An Administrative History of the Brooks River Area, with Special Emphasis on Bear Management in Katmai National Park and Preserve 1912-2006 :

"Brooks Camp Manager Mark Wagner created the “Diver Cards” program to encourage proper etiquette on the viewing platform at the falls in 1998.  

Some bear watchers vocally harassed the bears; some even clapped, whistled, and found other ways to get the animals’ attention, all for a better picture to take home. At the time, photographers themselves volunteered to switch over to smaller camera mounts, which could be clamped onto the platform’s heavy railing.  

The park instituted a series of etiquette rules that guided visitor behavior on the platforms. NPS instructed visitors to be quiet and not to cheer, clap or try talking to the bears. Visitors were asked to show courtesy to others by sharing the best viewing places along the railings. They were asked to not use flash photography. They could not sit on the platform railings or crowd the access ramps. Nor were visitors allowed to eat, drink (except water) or smoke on the platform. In 1998, Wagner had the rules for Platform Etiquette printed on the back of five cards, which included various photographs of a famous Brooks River bear, Diver. These popular “Diver Cards” were distributed to visitors by the interpretation staff."

Other fun facts about the Driver Card Program are:

Diver Card #2 provided the following information about 1 Diver:  He dug belly holes in the soft beach sand and lays down with his large belly in the hole.

Diver Card #4 provided the following information about 1 Diver: Diver once ate 17 entire salmon in 45 minutes.

Diver Card #5 was a rare Diver Card that KNP&P rangers would slip to park visitors that would give up their viewing spot early on crowded viewing platforms. 

October 1998:

1999:

Fall 1999:

Fall of 1999 information about 1 Diver in included in At the Heart of Katmai: An Administrative History of the Brooks River Area, with Special Emphasis on Bear Management in Katmai National Park and Preserve 1912-2006 :

In fall 1999, the Brooks River’s most photographed bear that attracted most bear watching enthusiasts to Brooks Camp, ‘Diver,’ the 35-year-old brown bear, was on his last legs. He was gaunt and creaking when he showed up at the river to consume carcasses of dead and rotting salmon. Though he put on some weight, he didn’t look all that healthy heading into winter and hibernation. According to Brooks Camp manger, Mark Wagner, “He looked really bad.” Despite the odds, the venerable bear survived the winter. But the future for Diver was grim. “Probably the only thing saving Diver now, lamented Wagner, “is that the other bears haven’t really noticed his frailty.” 

2000:

May 2000:

2000.05.14:  1 Diver was observed at Brooks Camp.

September 2000:

2000.09.18:  1 Diver was observed fishing the Brooks River.

October 2000:

2000.10.05:  Peninsula Clarion article by Craig Medred:  Biologists: Venerable Katmai bear unlikely to survive the winter   

2015:

1 Diver was included in the Bears No Longer Seen section of the 2015 Bears of Brooks River book on page 72:

A display of 1 Diver is still used as an interpretation and educational tool at Brooks Camp in the treehouse near the Brooks Falls and Riffles wildlife viewing platforms.   The 1 Diver display can also be seen at 3:32 into this 2010 or prior video by Nature Eau Scope:
Des ours et des hommes

Des ours et des hommes