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An Orphan
17-JUL-2010 copyright Elizabeth Bickel

An Orphan

Lake Clark

There is a story behind this lovely girl.
She and her litter brother lost their mom between the time they went into their first Winter hibernation as Spring Cubs and the following Spring.
Because they were motherless, odds of their survival were very slim. Mortality rate of Grizzly Bear cubs is very high; even when they do have a mother to protect and teach them.

Nevertheless against all odds, both cubs amazingly survived their first winter without their mom. They also learned to totally fend for themselves in the Spring as yearlings. However, they separated. The little boy became elusive and stayed away from both people and all other bears. The little girl, however, saw people as her protecters. Although totally wild and not having any true interaction with people - like receiving food or hand outs - she learned that living close to humans kept her somewhat "safe" from other bears. Most adult male Griz (a big danger to all cubs) will generally try to avoid people.

Always on the alert - as seen in this photo - the girl was constantly very nervous. She was forever on guard. This is probably what helped her to survive on her own. Meanwhile, she would frequently come extremely close to people as if she were one of us... On more than one occasion, she got so close that I was able to frame a head portrait of her with a wide angle lens. When she meandered that close, I had to back off. Sweet as she seemed, she was still a Wild Grizzly Bear.

The true test now will be if she can survive this winter: her second. This winter will now be without even her brother. I'm very hopeful and will be looking for both of them when I return to Alaska next Summer.

COPYRIGHT 2010, Elizabeth Bickel. All Rights Reserved.
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Hank Vander Velde17-Feb-2011 20:08
SUPER, well narrated image Liz.
Coleen Perilloux Landry18-Jan-2011 15:18
Wonderful narration and great photo. I wish her all the best. Vote.
Peter Stahl13-Jan-2011 01:50
Sweet!!! :-)
marie-jose wolff12-Jan-2011 19:40
amazing capture, magnificent work! V
mart s12-Jan-2011 19:27
great capture of her, just watched a great programme this week on these beautiful animals...big vote
Knox O12-Jan-2011 19:01
beautiful creature, hope she stays well.
Nestor12-Jan-2011 18:20
Great story of factual information, image is also very nice .
Excellent and heart warming information, I hope when you return , you see her again and bring us back an image.
Patricia Kay12-Jan-2011 16:59
Excellent capture Liz....I really hope you do see them both next summer...BV
kobby Dagan12-Jan-2011 16:43
Grate photo ! V
Marco Valk12-Jan-2011 16:31
Great shot; great experience; let's hope there's a good end to this story.
Tom Briggs12-Jan-2011 15:57
Great story, Liz, and a nice shot of this beautiful animal. You're wise to keep a respectful distance, however. I, too, hope she survives this winter and many more. Voted
Fong Lam12-Jan-2011 15:17
Great capture of this gentle grizzly and a heart warming story to go with it....V
Bryan Murahashi12-Jan-2011 15:14
Fabulous capture. Looks like she enjoying the greens in her diet.
Carol Breton12-Jan-2011 13:20
A sad, tender story behind this beautiful image, Liz. She's gorgeous. Love the pose and
the mouthful of grass. ~
Jim Coffman12-Jan-2011 12:14
Amazing capture,Liz! Well done. V
Vince12-Jan-2011 12:05
Wonderful capture. The story has touches my heart. Hope the siblings will be safe and well. Vote.
Stephanie12-Jan-2011 09:36
What a wonderful story Liz! I hope that her brother is still alive too.
Charming capture of this gentle giant tiptoeing thru the wildflowers! V :)
regi olbrechts12-Jan-2011 08:19
Oh boy, RUN!!!!
Great shot ;-))
January Grey12-Jan-2011 08:11
She's so beautiful standing in the meadow of flowers! Wonderful story, Liz. Hope she's there when you go back!
heather12-Jan-2011 07:39
Fabulous capture Liz. Thanks for the info about these amazing creatures. V
soulis12-Jan-2011 05:38
Great capture! V.
eye2see12-Jan-2011 05:34
Magnificent work! You must have been so close! ~V