Grizzly bears typically don’t make eye contact unless they are challenging or being challenged. They walk past each other and are fully alert and communicating something with their walk/body language, but they don’t usually look at each other directly. They do the same with humans, where they have habituated to us; in the places I go to photograph bears in Alaska, they walk by and look at you with a ‘passing gaze’; we call it ‘studied indifference’. But the cubs? well, that’s another story!! They haven’t learned that trait, or perfected it, and they will look at us with wonder and curiosity, like this little one. You have to wonder what it was thinking as it watched us. I know we were all thinking ‘how cute’ but what do bears think about us, if anything?
I know as nature photographers we’re not supposed to anthropomorphize wild animals, but come on – how can you look at this bear cub and not think about a teddy bear? When the cubs sit like this, they look like giant teddy bears, and you want to go up and scratch their ears or something. Of course that would not be a great idea, lol, but it sure makes me connect to them.
I’ll be leading another small-group photo tour in August 2017 to photograph bears. I’m taking deposits now, with an early bird discount. See the webpage for more info.
Thanks for visiting!