Animals are not property or “things” but rather living organisms, subjects of a life, who are worthy of our compassion, respect, friendship, and support. ~ Marc Bekoff ~
Of all the photographs I’ve seen of Grizzly Bears, this one is my favorite. For one thing, it is rare to catch sight of a mother grizzly with two mature cubs like this. In spite of having excellent photographic lenses, this photographer (Jim Lawrence) was pretty close; most of all he is patient, knows the ways of bears and projects calm energy in their presence.
This photo also reveals elements of Grizzly Bear culture. Here we see a mother, walking to the outside of her cubs, on alert and fully knowing that the photographer is there. For the first three years of their life, she has protected and taught her children everything she knows and will soon send them off to become independent, thus readying herself to mate again. Her son takes the lead position because she knows he will need to be a leader in order to survive and mate over a large home range. Her daughter is taking her cue from mom, also being very watchful, which she will need to practice when she has her own cubs to raise and protect. Notice how all three bears lead with the same foot; in rhythm as a family group, which reflects their familial synchronicity and probably helps them to move more quietly together.
This image reinforces my belief that Grizzly Bears must be recognized as unique individuals within a distinct culture; not random numbers in a resource group. They are thinking, feeling beings who don’t belong lumped in with gas, coal and oil, and no population estimate can be high enough to justify killing them for trophy/sport.
There’s so much to be learned from Grizzly Bears, none of which can be commodified in economic terms. On principle of ethics and social justice, the majority of British Columbians want an end to intentionally killing these bears. It is the one burden we can lift off their backs that will help them cope with the many cumulative stressors that they face.