One Out of a Thousand - Not Too Bad

June 29, 2017

Originally posted July, 21, 2012

I’ve put up five photos from the some 5,000 frames I shot on our recent trip to Alaska. There are other good shots in that inventory, and in the days ahead I’ll probably put a few more of them up on this web site.  Each of these pictures carries a story with it…which makes them especially special to Cindy and me…but for one of them, which is really, really special, I want to tell that story.

The photo, “Sisters” truly is a shot of two two-and-a-half-year-old sister coastal brown bear cubs, shot in Lake Clark National Park along the west shore of the Cook Inlet.  They are right at the age when their mother has kicked them out of the nest, and they’ll be together the rest of the summer and den-up together this winter.Come next spring, they’ll be sexually mature and will go off individually, to themselves renew the cycle of life.

 

Sisters-displaySisters-display

But for now, they’re still best friends and each others companion and protector. And as it sometimes is with siblings, one of them…the larger of the two…is more active and aggressive while the smaller one is more shy, retiring and less “physical” than her sister. The day before we visited at Silver Salmon, a male who had been busy shadowing a mature female for the past couple of weeks…but had so-far struck out with her…tried to chase down and kill the smaller sister. She narrowly escaped, and had climbed high in a spruce tree, where she remained ensconced on the day of our visit.

At one point, however, Scott, who was our host along with his wife, Sage, said, “Let’s go over there. One of the sisters is up in a tree, and I just received a radio message that her sister is coming for her.”

We did go over there, and sure enough, here came the larger sister.  She detoured through some underbrush when she saw us (she’d have turned around if Scott had not assured her that “You’re okay”), and sure enough, the smaller sister started down out of her tree.  When they met on the ground, they touched snouts, gamboled around, and then took off at a lope, out onto the flat to graze on sedge grass, at which point Scott said, “I don’t know if the smaller one would make it without her sister.”

Now, I’m decidedly not anthropomorphic, and really appreciate it that, as well as Scott and Sage know these individual bears in their area, they refuse to give them names. They’re wild animals after all, but this really was something.  Watching those two golden adolescent girls relate to each other in a way much reminiscent of human siblings was pretty touching and something I’ll never forget.  I think of them now, and I’ll go on thinking of them, especially next spring, wondering if they both survived the winter and if they’ve both embarked on an adult life that includes being a mom to cubs of their own.  The cycle of life.

I hope you enjoy these photos, and if you have comments, would enjoy hearing from you.

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