These beautiful Bears, a mama and a single cub were some of my Bear Friends that I saw a lot in Shenandoah National Park last year and as late as mid-November. No sightings yet this year. I am hoping they turn up soon...
**June 2, 2016 Update** Well thanks everyone for the well wishes for these guys....I guess they worked....my friend Denise found them yesterday evening...mama and yearling, both looking great! I am very relieved....
My Godmother Eve and I spent yesterday afternoon in Shenandoah National Park with our Bear Friends. This adult sow is now on her own.....for the next week or so. She has recently kicked out her yearlings so that she can prepare to mate again this June-July. She will court and mate with several boars and will have new cubs again next winter.
Eve and I were really ticked off with some......inappropriate tourists that got WAY too close to this beautiful Bear! Just because she doesn't have cubs with her right now by no means makes her a Bear you can just WALK. UP. TO! Bears are WILD animals and they all must be respected .... the rule is 50 yards in Shenandoah and many other national parks. Several people were 10 FEET away from her!!
Eve and I remained a good distance away but the 600mm zoom on my camera was able to get a good photo and captured this one as she...BLUFF CHARGED the idiots! Eve and I were happy to iwatch her defend herself against such clueless people. Of course they did what they shouldn't which was run (Rule #1: NEVER RUN FROM A BEAR!) but it was good to see that she hadn't lost all her fear of people and bluff charged, huffed and popped her jaws at them.
My dad and I head out tomorrow for a Memorial Weekend camping trip....I'll be volunteering in the park. Oh the adventures we'll have with the wildlife and the MANY tourists that will be coming to the park to celebrate the holiday weekend.
I took this photo two years ago of a Shenandoah National Park Black Bear, female yearling. I had first met her the previous spring with her mother, sister and brother and I spent a lot of time with them over the course of that 12 months. The day I took this photo was one of the last times I saw the family intact before mom "booted" the yearlings a couple weeks later so that she could mate again and have new cubs.
This female remained in her natal territory for the following two years and I was able to watch her grow up. Females usually have their first cubs at either three or four years of age, so being three I was hopeful she would have cubs this year. When she was first sighted without cubs, I knew she would be having them next year instead.
Just a week later this precious being with a life ahead of her unfairly had her time here on Planet Earth end. A couple of weeks ago my friend and fellow SNP Bear Enthusiast/Advocate Denise found her dead on the side of Skyline Drive. She was hit by a car overnight and we can only assume it was a speeder.
She was a very special Bear and will be missed...... On the bright side, her sister did have cubs at three years old and is raising her first two cubbies this year! We can only hope that they live long, happy lives, and they will......if people PLEASE SLOW DOWN!
I had a wonderful time camping with my mom in Shenandoah National Park earlier this week. We had ample opportunities to spend a lot of time with our Black Bear friends.
One afternoon we got lucky finding this two year old male in a patch of wildflowers (Wild Yarrow, I believe) in good lighting conditions. He was right along the side of the road so we pulled over and I got this shot right from the car. He is a handsome Bear!
Although this guy won't be mating for a few more years we are now entering the 2+ month period of Black Bear mating season in this area. 400 pound males are out and about marking their territory! If you will be in Bear country at this time of year, please remember to give those big boys room as they will defend their territory and mates.
Just back from The Biggest Week in American Birding festival in Northwest Ohio!! What an incredible week and a half leading trips, spending time with dear friends and making new ones, and seeing amazing birds (I picked up an UNEXPECTED life bird, Curlew Sandpiper, from Eurasia and my second ever Kirtland's Warbler, an endangered species!). Already can't wait for next year! Tomorrow I leave for six days volunteering and reuniting with my Bear Friends in the Shenandoah National Park with my friend for a few days and then my mom!
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