Photographer Jenny Stevens captured a pair of adolescent brown bears brawling with each other as they vie for the attention of a nearby female.
The captivating images were taken on an estuary in the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary in British Columbia, Canada over the course of two hours.
Stevens, who is 77 years old next month, tells PetaPixel that she was unhappy with the “very harsh lighting.”
“With the bears, I much prefer overcast or even a light rain. Makes it very difficult to get rid of shadows. Actually, impossible.”
Stevens explains that the reason for the ferocious fight was due to “a lone female Grizzly nearby” which “got their testosterone going.”
“Mating season is high risk for Grizzly Cubs and immature male Grizzlies. They stopped fighting and stared at each other and fifteen minutes later they would be back at it. Always the smaller bear being the aggressor.”
The smaller bear only weighed 275 lbs, according to Stevens, who also estimated the bears are five-years-old, meaning they are not even old enough to attract female bears yet. In fact, when an adult bear approached the fighting duo — they quickly broke it off and scuttled away.
“There was a mature female not far away, but she had no interest in them,” adds Stevens.
“The large mature male commenced courting her when the two younger bears left. At first, it upset me to see such viciousness, but it appeared they did not want to kill each other.
“Now and then fur flew, but I believe it really was serious practice for what awaits them in a few years. Males normally have to fight to win a female during mating season.”
“I also use a monopod as the D5 is quite heavy even without the long lens,” Stevens adds.
The Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary is Canada’s only grizzly bear-protected area and boasts a wild population of the famous brown bears.
The stunning location also plays host to an array of remarkable wildlife, including killer whales, bald eagles, and humpback whales.
More of Stevens’s work can be found on her website.
Image credits: All photos by Jenny Stevens.