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Philippe Henry is a French animal photographer who settled in Canada in 1994 and has always lived here.

I contacted him and he accepted to present you the Black Bear, a work of photographer that he accomplished with specialists in biology of fauna conservation.

I thank him for his testimony on my website and I let you appreciate his article.


© Philippe Henry on the steps of black bears- River Tatshenshini - Yukon - Canada

The black bear is certainly the animal in North America that fascinates the hiker most.
© Philippe Henry - Black bear National park of " la Mauricie " - Quebec - Canada

They are a lot who hope to see it in the turn of a foot path, and they are also a lot who go back disappointed finding only some prints on the soil of the forest, or some scratches on the trees.

Because the black bear is wild, it essentially lives in the forest. It uses frequently the open areas than the grizzly bears from the West of Canada.

I had the chance to approach it and take pictures of the black bears in their natural area thanks to the biologists with whom I have collaborated since I went in Canada in 1994. In the park of " Gros Morse " in New foundland, the park "Forillon" and the one of " La Mauricie " in Quebec, I went with the teams of fauna conservation who studied their populations.


© Philippe Henry - National park of " la Mauricie "- Quebec


A better knowledge of this animal and of its movings allow to manage its habitat better and to let it enough space in order to normally evolve.

The last research about the black bear I had participated was in the national park of " La Mauricie " in Quebec. This park, located at two hour's drive from Montreal, was the scene of the longest research never realized about this species.

During about sixteen years , from 1990 to 2005, biologists have tracked the bears to learn more about them.

The research allowed to determinate, how the bears were influenced by human activities, made inside or outside the park and also determinate in which amount, the plenty of small fruit, found in the forest at the periphery, attracted the bears outside the park where they could be killed by hunters and trappers.

Like the other species of bears, the black bears have very developped hearing and smelling. In some atmospheric conditions, the black bear can detect a human presence, to within one kilometre and avoid him.

Accordind to an Amerindian saying, when a pine needle falls down on the ground, the eagles sees it, the roe deer ears it and the bear smells it. The black bear , ursus americanus is the smallest and the most scattered species from the three which lives in the North of America.


© Philippe Henry - Black bear - National park of " la Mauricie" - Quebec - Canada

Claude Samson, a biologist, evoked the ancestor of all the Ursidés.

It was a little carnivourous, named Ursus Minimus, who lived in Europa five million years ago.
With the millenium, Ursus Minimus, will have stread it through Asia and will have come in North America by the Bering Detroit.

The oldest fossils we found in America date back from 3,5 million years. The black bear - Ursus americanus - as we know it today, appeared two million years ago. I was always fascinated by bears. I photographed them in Finland, in the west of Canada, and in Alaska.

They are remarkable animals. I find absolutly remarkable the capacity of the female to give birth during the hibernation period.


© Philippe Henry - Black bear female and its four bearcubs -
The female has a transmitter collar - National park of " la Mauricie " - Quebec - Canada

© Philippe Henry - A bear cub of 5 months licking the bark of a tree
- National park of "la Mauricie" - Quebec - Canada

It's also remarkable that, during hibernation, the bear recycles the waste produced by its organism.Take for example the urea which is toxic. Among human people, it's eliminated in the urine.

Among the bear, it's transformed into dioxyde of carbone and in ammonia. The dioxyde of carbone escapes from the animal breathing, while the ammonia is used for the making of new proteins. If we have discovered some secrets about the biology of bears, we still wonder questions about its extraordinary capacities.

If the black bear has a discreet behaviour, it however doesn't escape to the envy of some& poachers who hunt it in the most remote places. Every year, several thousand bears are killed for the trade of their paws and their gall blader. In some asiatic restaurants, a roasted bear paw, considered as a most refined dish, costs more than several hundred euros.

The dry bile is sold in a very expensive way to the pharmaceutical industry which uses it as medicines for cold and to cure infections, fever and arthritis.

The black bear from Asia, which is a victim of the poaching and the preogressive disappearing of its habitat, is now recognized as a endangered species.


© Philippe Henry - Biologists and guards who are weighing a bear
- National park of " la Mauricie" - Qubec - Canada
© Philippe Henry - A park 's guard with two bearcubs in his arms
- National park of " la Mauricie" - Quebec - Canada

In North America, the trade of gall bladers is not the only one threat for bears.

The black and brown bears are above all threatened by the disappearance of the great wild spaces.

My reportings about the black bears were published in the French magazine " Terre sauvage " of december 1997 and novembre 2003 and also in "Wapiti" of february 2002 and july 2006.

The complete research about the black bears of the national park of " La Mauricie" was published in the magazine "Sanglier-passion"  (november 2007).

My book " In the den of the black bears" was published by the editor " Ecole des loisirs.


© Philippe Henry - son livre " Dans la tanière de l'ours noir "


Philippe Henry will go to an expedition next 20th March 2008 in Ecuador with biologists, on the steps of the spectacled bears. We are waiting with impatience for his wonderful reporting that he will go back with.

If you want to know more about Philip Henry's photograph carreer and his different reportings, go on his website and click here

Creation date : 16/03/2008 : 11:52
Last update : 01/08/2015 : 19:51
Category : PHOTOGRAPHERS - Philippe HENRY, spécialist of bears ( March 2008-Updating décember 2009 )

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