Photographers and filmmakers can be the only connection some people have with nature. The way we see and document wildlife, on social media or otherwise, has at least some effect on how potential viewers will portray them. Bears are often seen as cute and cuddly, but can this make them seem less dangerous than they really are? There is no denying bears are playful, just like any animal can be. There’s nothing wrong with seeing them as they are, but you’ve got to have the common sense to realize and respect their power.
Many people visiting Yellowstone seem to have zero fear of bears. Do they have any idea what would happen if a grizzly bear, or even a black bear, decided to charge them? That would be quite the shot to get on your iPad, but ultimately it would not end well. There has already been one instance this season of a man following a grizzly bear into the woods with his iPad. By some miracle, he wasn’t mauled, but he was ticketed by a ranger.
I watched several photographers scurry down a hill to get a closer shot of a mother grizzly bear with three cubs in May. If you’re nearing the retirement age, I don’t think you and your twenty pounds of camera gear are going to make it back up that hill when mama bear decides to charge. In fact, I watched someone slip and fall just trying to make it back up the hill, after the bears were gone.
It’s nearly impossible to make a bear cub look like anything but the cutest thing in the world. A one month old cub probably couldn’t maul anybody, but its mother certainly can.
I think common sense should ensure people have the ability to see something as cute, yet still know it can be dangerous as well. That’s a healthy appreciation and respect of the animal. Common sense is lacking in today’s world, so what can you do? These animals aren’t domesticated. They are wild, dangerous, and struggling to survive. If you get in their way, they can quickly render you no longer a threat.
Making a bear appear scary and threatening isn’t hard. They’re huge animals, and when they’re next to something you can relate to, you can see just how big they really are. The bear below is the same mother of the three cubs above, but it’s not so “cute” anymore huh?
What do you think? How would you prefer to see bears portrayed? Leave a comment below or on Facebook!