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BEARS : ACTUALITIES
EDUCATION
VISITS

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I would like to thank Tom, for having sent this testimony. Now I let him speak. " Bears have intrigued humans for millennia:
Ursa Major and Ursa Minor in the heavens and on earth in the woods and on the ice, hunted by some, revered by others.

The North American black bear population is about 900,000 individuals.

In 2007/2008 I came to know a unique bear family of six at a more personal level.

Before my encounter I was aware that black bears typically have two cubs, rarely one or three. In 2007, 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 four cubs but five was, and is, 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 six weeks I had that once in a lifetime opportunity and photographed them in the shadows and dull lighting of the evening.

The print is properly focused and well exposed under these conditions with all six bears “posing” as if they were in a studio for a family portrait.

oursnoirstomsears.jpg
© Tom Sears - Black bears family



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 them as I was concerned that they might become habituated to me, or to people in general, as approachable “friends”.

This could be dangerous for both man and animal.

After Halloween I received no further reports and could only hope the bears survived until they hibernated.

In the spring of 2008, before the snow disappeared, all six bears came out of their den and wandered the same familiar territory they trekked in 2007.

I saw them before the middle of April and dreamed nightly of taking another “family portrait,” an improbable second “once in a lifetime” photograph.

On April 25, 2008, I achieved my dream.

oursnoirs2tomsears.jpg
© Tom Sears


Nearly another year has passed and many things have transpired which I am eager to share.

After taking the 2008 family portrait I had a friend chase the cubs with his dogs to “educate” them before hunting season began.

I believe all the cubs lived through the season, although a cub of the same age as these was destroyed after raiding a farm, killing two pigs and several chickens.

This story, together with the two family portraits, was picked up out there in cyberspace and appeared on computer screens all over the world. This bear family is now famous.

I have received emails from Japan, Australia, England, France, Germany, and many more.

Emails numbered nearly 1000, with many people asking questions such as:

“How big were the cubs when they were born,”

“And are five cubs a record?” At birth a black bear cub is about the size of a squirrel and weighs less than 12 ounces. I have read that the “record” is probably either six or seven cubs.

“How big was “mom”?” Female black bears are smaller than males and normally are no larger than 300 pounds; however, knowledgeable bear biologists who have seen this female have estimated her weight at between 350 and 400 pounds at the time she denned.

To document this family over two years was remarkable.

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 photos with you."

Sincerely, Tom Sears


Literally hundreds of questions have been asked of me and I am happy to tell you of a book published in March, 2009:

BEAR-OLOGY, Fascinating Bear Facts, Tales Trivia by Sylvia Dolson published by PixyJack Press.


If you are interested in bears, and living in proximity with them, I think you will find this book both charming and informative.


Creation date : 18/03/2009 : 18:55
Last update : 21/02/2012 : 19:33
Category : YOUR TESTIMONIES - Bears and I ( March - April 2009)

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