“It was legendary. It was The Boss vs Split Lip, the two largest, toughest and most famous grizzly bears in Banff National Park, in an encounter that thrilled me to my very core” John E Marriot.
On Friday July 3 John E Marriot, a Canmore based wildlife photographer who has been photographing bears for many years in the area, and his family were camping at Protection Mountain campground when he got super rare videos and pictures of two of the biggest grizzly bears interacting in Banff National Park: The Boss and Split Lip.
Nobody knows how old The Boss and Split Lip are, but they have both been seen around in Banff National Park now for at least 15 years. Marriot believes that the bears are probably around 15- to 20-years-old and both bears may be in the 500- to 600-pound range, depending on the time of year. They are both big and dominant male grizzly bears right now.
The Boss and Split Lip have an amazingly large territory to enjoy that starts from west of Canmore to nearly Radium, B.C., and up toward Jasper. Marriott describes that as “an easy 1,000-square-kilometre home range.” Nevertheless, this past July 3rd around 9pm that space was not big enough at Protection Mountain for The Boss who ran towards Split Lip like a fast and furious train.
Marriott estimates the bears were about 20 metres away and The Boss “just missed him” (with a big swipe, and then they went racing through this little meadow, spinning around and spiraling through it and onto the Bow Valley Parkway. Marriott followed the bears on the Bow Valley Parkway, and he saw The Boss chasing Split Lip down the highway. He said that the grizzlies were weaving in and out of the ditch for about three kilometres and after that the chase wound down with The Boss heading off into the bush. Marriott thinks that The Boss is still the “boss” of the area.
If you want to know the full story described by John Marriot, you can read about his whole experience with the two grizzly bears in the following link