“These triplet cubs need a healthy mother to see them through the long winter.”
Photo Credit : Carl D. Walsh
Last winter I went deep into the Maine wilderness with wildlife biologist Randy Cross and his crew of technicians in the state’s black bear monitoring program. Their task: tracking Maine’s black bear population. A total of 23,000 bears is the current conservation objective.
In my 23 years of professional photography, I’d never seen a sleeping mother bear in a den with her cubs. As I was shooting, I prayed that mama bear wouldn’t wake up suddenly to find my lens about a foot from her face — I was certain she’d quickly become a most uncooperative subject.
Later, a nine-week-old cub looked me in the eye, sauntered over, and proceeded to climb up my leg. I picked him up by the scruff of his neck. We were eye to eye — an amazingly intimate connection with a wild animal. At times, I had to discipline myself to keep shooting and not stop and play with the little bears.