Naturalist communes with bears

It’s the end of the week, which means it’s time to enjoy some animal cuteness. In this case we have a momma American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) and her two adorable cubs (or is it three?), all filmed by a biologist who gets along with them swimmingly.  This three-minute video from BBC Earth shows something I wouldn’t have thought possible: a man approaches a bear with her cubs and doesn’t get attacked! He even gives her treats and pets her! Here are the YouTube notes:

Natural World: Black Bears Of The Northwoods

Forty years ago Lynn Rogers began studying the black bears of the American Northwoods. During this time, he has formed a unique relationship with the bears, allowing him to spend time in close proximity with them, revealing more about their habits and characters than ever before. Through his research, Lynn Rogers hopes to prove that bears can live alongside people happily. Natural World follows Lynn and the bears for a year, revealing the nature of his relationship with his research subjects, including intimate footage of a bear and her new-born cubs.

As Andrew Sullivan might say, see you tomorrow!

h/t: Michael


  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Lynn knows bears and the bears know Lynn.

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Bears are always so cute but then they can eat you.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted March 8, 2019 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      I think the way it works is, you always have a friend with you (not alone like Lynn) and you must be a faster running than the friend.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 8, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        Sadly, I think I am that friend people bring along because she’s slow running.

        • Posted March 8, 2019 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

          Then, think of it as your mission in life ;-).

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted March 8, 2019 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

            No way. I can’t….bear it.

  3. Andy Lowry
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    This brought the Herzog documentary “Grizzly Man” to mind. Apparently one can only get so friendly with grizzlies. I don’t think I’d try it with black bears, either, but I’m a little bearophobic.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 8, 2019 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      Arctophobic (because I hate mixing Latin & Greek to come up with ursophobic; using a “c” instead of a “k” for “arctophobic” is as close as I get to Latinized Greek as well).

      • Andy Lowry
        Posted March 8, 2019 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        When I looked it up, I saw that arcotophobia can manifest as a fear of teddy bears. Now, those I could spend some time with in the wild.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 8, 2019 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

          Hahahahaha too funny. I didn’t look it up, I just made up the word so didn’t know teddy bears was the fear it applied to.

          • Janet Dreyer
            Posted March 8, 2019 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

            Wow, I love it, learn SO much on this site!!!!!

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted March 8, 2019 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      I’m not bearaphobic, I’m riskophobic/enjoy life too much to play with it (or dangerous bears).

      In related news, I read this week that a couple of bulls improved on the farm animal/nature animal human kill rate here in Sweden, another farmer got to bite his own dust.

  4. rickflick
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    It seems if you can figure out an animals signals, you can find a way to get along. It’s all about communication.
    “If I could talk to the animals, just imagine it Chattin’ with a chimp in chimpanzee…”

  5. ploubere
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    My objection to this is that it might habituate the bear to humans, which could lead to tragic encounters.

    • Josh Lincoln
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      I was just about to say the same thing. Healthier for the mother and cubs if they are no5 comfortable with th3 presence of humans. Their behavior can just as easily be observed from afar.

    • Ralph
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      Yes, I’m not really sure how to reconcile what this guy is doing with the usual bear management policies in places like the Sierra Nevada. Rangers go to great lengths to impose and enforce policies that prevent bears getting food from humans. Black bears are naturally timid, an strategy acquired when they evolved in the company of larger predators. But stealing human food is a whole lot easier than foraging, and bears that lose their fear of humans can become aggressive and must often be euthanized.

  6. Hempenstein
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Black bears are certainly getting more numerous up in Shenandoah Nat’l Park vs. when I was a kid in the ’50s/60s. About a decade ago I witnessed a comic/scary scene of a black bear making its way across the grounds right in front of Big Meadows Lodge, pursued by a tourist woman with a camera, in turn pursued by a Ranger trying to get the woman to desist.

    Then, down at nearby Rapidan Camp (aka Camp Hoover), and hiking back along the old access road, I was a bit unnerved to see a young bear making its way thru the woods and parallel to me, about 50ft away. I picked up my speed, hoping that if there was a mama bear behind it, neither was worried by me, but the youngster seemed to pick up speed too. Eventually the it disappeared into the woods.

  7. Mike
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    I have followed Dr Rogers for a few years, not physically, but via the PC, and in the community, he lives in Ely Minnesota, and Eagles Nest, they have been feeding Bears for over 50 yrs with no problems. The Bears prefer natural wild foods and only come around to the feeding stations when Hyperphagia begins and they have to fatten up before Hibernation, or when the Wild Food is in short supply. He had live Den Cams in place for a few years, and it is surprising the amount of knowledge these provided, about Den activity, of which there is a lot. But the DNR in their wisdom withdrew his licence because the public was beginning to get a more informed and softer attitude towards Bears which affected the sale of Bear Hunting Licences. You could call him the “Jane Goodall” of Bears.

    • Mike
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      Heres a link to a Den Cam under a House in Philadelphia, with Mama Bear and one Cub.

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