Careful mothers

A male Brown Bear

Last night I gambled and lost…. I choose a hide pointing at a completely different angle as the others, hoping for some different shots. More in the open, walking towards me, but also knowing this place was less favoured by the bears. The night started slow, with the first two hours nothing in sight anywhere. Then suddenly…. What is moving there? At the other side of the field, in the forest? One….. No, two, three, four, no five animals were moving… It’s way to early for mothers with cubs, they’re always a bit afraid of this place as the big males (as seen in the picture above, picture taken during the first bear night) are often present. These males do sometimes attack females with cubs… It happened at a large distance and quick, so I had only time to take one picture. Are they really bears? I actually started to doubt myself, on the picture I could also reason they were Wild Boar…. A bit later, between several hides at a distance I saw movement again. Now I knew for sure, it was indeed Tatyana with her four cubs. Tatyana is a famous bear in this area, she has been seen three years with four cubs and one year with three. To me they looked too small for yearling cubs, but that was because I compared them to Polar Bear yearlings in July-August, which are a bit bigger as they are a few months older and do not hibernate. I pointed my camera towards the scene and by using the 10x magnification in live view, I could still have a good view. Tatyana was very careful indeed, sticking close to the forest all the time, standing on her hind legs now and then to watch for other bears. She slowly approached the bait, quickly grabbing as much food as possible (the cubs also helping) and running back to the safety of the forest. Half an hour later the same procedure again. This was the last time, it was getting darker now and some other bears showed up. Again, not in front of my hide, but for Tatyana this was reason enough to find another food source. For me it was a great experience, but unfortunately too far away for good pictures. Better luck tonight, I hope.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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