Folksy 'dancing' Alberta bears video an online hit

An Alberta wildlife video strings photos of grizzlies rubbing themselves on a 'communication' tree.

Video strings together photos of grizzlies in Kananaskis Country

A family of grizzlies, three juvenile cubs, and a mother bear, rub their scent on a tree in Kananaskis Country, Alta. The bears are just a few of the animals to stop by the tree in an Alberta Parks video. (Screencapture from Alberta Parks video )

A wildlife video produced by a conservation officer in Alberta's Kananaskis Country is getting a lot of attention. 

Glenn Naylor has worked as a ranger in K-country for 34 years. His most recent video, produced by stringing together hundreds of photos shot by motion-detecting cameras in the back country, has had over 1.6 million hits — and growing fast — on YouTube. 

Naylor was shocked when the video went viral.

"It wasn't planned that way. It was completely unexpected, let me tell you," said Naylor.

In the video — set to music by Canadian guitarist Ewan Dobson — a number of animals visit a "rub tree" in the Kananaskis backcountry.

The highlight of the video is when four grizzly bears, a mother and her three large cubs, are all rubbing against the tree at the same time.

'It becomes almost like your classified ads. Who's around, who's available and what's going on.'— Glenn Naylor, conservation officer

"A lot of people think they're having a good scratch," said Naylor. 

"But it's not about scratching. It's about scent. They're communication trees."

Naylor said bears will rub against certain trees, in order to leave their scent behind. The ritual attracts other bears, who then do the same. The tree also attracts other animals, and in the video you can see a cougar, elk and deer inspect the tree, as well as two humans.

"It becomes almost like your classified ads. Who's around, who's available and what's going on," said Naylor. 

Video featured on Colbert Report

Naylor's video was showcased on the Colbert Report recently, where American satirist Stephen Colbert referred to the bears as "stripper bears" and "Godless twerking machines" — posing the "No. 1 threat to America."

"They're topless and bottomless," jokes Colbert. 

"Though, they really should consider waxing."

Naylor gets a kick out of the fact that his video has gained such widespread attention and is glad folks find it entertaining. 

"But it's also getting across an important message," Naylor said. 

"There are grizzlies in Alberta Parks, in K-Country, and we've managed to keep a good diverse ecosystem here, and they can exist here."

  • Listen to Naylor's reaction to the video's popularity

The conservation officer has another wildlife video in the works. The next star? A rabbit. 

"The title which I'm' planning on using is 'Rabbit with a Death Wish,'" said Naylor. 

"I was in tears watching it. It's funny."

Naylor's videos are posted on the Alberta Parks YouTube channel.