Close encounters with bears

Bears in the Canadian woods

It was big, black and hungry looking… and it was coming towards me. I stood my ground camera to my eye trying not to tremble. My finger pressed the shutter release repeatedly as the huge black bear began to fill the viewfinder. I sensed rather than saw the cubs behind me but continued shooting their mother. I was ignoring the one thing I know about bears; you do not come between mother bears and their cubs

Hoping I had at least one good shot I turned my back on her and began photographing the cubs behind me as they played at the foot of a tree before ambling off to investigate a hollow log.

I have to confess to misleading you a little in the paragraphs above. Yes, it did all happen as I described but I was safely out of reach on a viewing platform-cum-hide.

I was out in the backwoods of New Brunswick with Little, Big Bear Safari. They have one trip per day into the woods to view black bears in their natural habitat so it is advisable to book in advance.

It all began in 1999 when Bear Whisperer, Richard took on the raising of a 3 month old orphaned, female black bear. Released back into the wild she is now a grandmother and happy for him to be around both her cubs and her “grandcubs”. Richard built a viewing platform and began taking people to view the bears and educate them in a way that changed peoples attitude and innate fear of bears.

I spent two hours photographing the bears. I only stopped when the light made it impossible. These are the photographs I took that day from a separate but connected platform designed for specifically for photographers.

Too busy scavenging for food to even care about the clicking and whirring of my camera this mother bear ignores the people watching from the viewing platform.

One of the youngsters seeks a playmate. The bears are happy to bring their cubs to the area around the viewing platform where despite the smell of humans they feel quite safe.

Bear were not the only wildlife to put in an appearance. This little fellow wanted some of the limelight, and a few morsels of food, as well

Richard, the Bear Whisperer, has a little bit of quality time with the bear he raised from a cub. The same bear introduces her cubs to him and they, when they reach adulthood, introduce theirs too.

These are all wild bears and stand taller than a man when on their hind legs like this one. Even from the safety of the viewing platform they look pretty scary standing up like this. I was glad to be able to photograph the bears from the safety of the viewing platform with out the need to face the anger of mother protecting her cubs just to get an awesome shot.

Declaration: I went with Little, Big Bear Safari as part of a press trip organised by Tourism New Brunswick. However, I always maintain editorial control and write as I see or experience it. The integrity of my writing is important to me.


Little, Big Bear Safari

Tourism New Brunswick

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Travel Unpacked is all about travel; from luxury to adventure travel and all related topics. There are reviews of accommodation, eateries, airlines,  ferries, books and much more. You will find stories, lists, hints and tips as well as experiences you might want replicate on your travels. It’s about travel as you want it

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