Saturday, November 28

A Family of Six

Another wonderful email:


BLACK BEAR QUINTUPLETS
Black bears typically have the two cubs; rarely, one or three. In 2008, in northern New Hampshire, a black bear Sow gave birth to five healthy young.There were two or three reports of sows with as many as 4 cubs, but five was, and is, very extraordinary. I learned of them shortly after they emerged from their den and set myself a goal of photographing all five cubs with their mom- no matter how much time and effort was involved. I knew the trail they followed on a fairly regular basis, usually shortly before dark. After spending nearly four hours a day, seven days a week, for more than six weeks, I had that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and photographed them. I used the equivalent of a very fast film speed on my digital camera. The print is properly focused and well exposed, with all six bears posing as if they were in a studio for a family portrait.


I stayed in touch with other people who saw the bears during the summer and into the fall hunting season. All six bears continued to thrive. As time for hibernation approached, I found still more folks who had seen them, and everything remained OK. I stayed away from the bears as I was concerned that they might become acclimated to me, or to people in general, and treat them as approachable friends. This could easily become dangerous for both man and animal.
After Halloween, I received no further reports and could only hope the bears survived until they hibernated. This spring, just before the snow disappeared, all six bears came out of their den and wandered all over the same familiar territory they trekked in the spring of 2008. I saw them before mid-April and dreamed nightly of taking another family portrait, a highly improbable second once-in-a-lifetime photograph.
On 25 April 2009, I achieved my dream.


When something as magical as this happens between man and animal, Native Americans say, We have walked together in the shadow of a rainbow. And so it is with humility and great pleasure that I share these exhilarating photos with you.

By Tom Sears


13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kenju--Thanks for sharing Mr Sears' wonderful photos with us. The cubs are too cute! (And Mama Bear is no slouch!)
Cop Car

Kay Dennison said...

Absolutely marvelous!!!!!

Gilly said...

How absolutely wonderful! To see them in the wild like that!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What a GREAT Story this is Judy....! I had no idea that Bear Quints were so very rare....! Delightful pictures!
Thanks you so much for your very sweet Thanksgiving Wishes....I hope your was WONDERFUL, Judy!

gs batty said...

Great story and great photos. Naturally Old Grizz got excited when he saw pictures of the bears. thanks for sharing

Granny Annie said...

Well I cried. Wonderful story and photos.

Arkansas Patti said...

Wonderful story. Can you imagine how warm that cave was with six warm bodies to snuggle up to.

sonia a. mascaro said...

Just wonderful story and pictures, Judy!

Palm Springs Savant said...

Oh i did enjoy this! How wonderful, it brightened up my morning too.

sage said...

I had an encounter with a bear and cub on the Appalachian Trail in NH! Beautiful photos.

Pat said...

It is strange how thrilling it is for we humans to see wild animals. I remember seeing dolphins in the Moray Firth and it made my heart sing.

robin andrea said...

Fantastic! I've only just seen my first bear in the wild, to see six would be AMAZING!

rosemary said...

We have had triplets here....being very naughty while momma took a nap under a tree....we named them....Boo-Boo, Bad Boy and Belle....but we don't know if they were boys or girls.