>> BLACK BEAR QUINTUPLETS
>> Black bears typically have two cubs; rarely, one or three. In 2007,
>> in northern New Hampshire, a black bear Sow gave birth to five
>> healthy young. There were two or three reports of sows with as many
>> as 4 cubs, but /five/ was, and is, very extraordinary. I learned of
>> them shortly after they emerged from their den and set myself a goal
>> of photographing all five cubs with their mom - no matter how much
>> time and effort was involved. I knew the trail they followed on a
>> fairly regular basis, usually shortly before dark. After spending
>> nearly four hours a day, seven days a week, for more than six weeks,
>> I had that once-in- a-lifetime opportunity and photographed them. I
>> used the equivalent of a very fast film speed on my digital camera.
>> The print is properly focused and well exposed, with all six bears
>> posing as if they were in a studio for a family portrait.
>> I stayed in touch with other people who saw the bears during the
>> summer and into the fall hunting season. All six bears continued to
>> thrive. As time for hibernation approached, I found still more folks
>> who had seen them, and everything remained OK. I stayed away from
>> the bears as I was concerned that they might become habituated to me,
>> or to people in general, and treat them as approachable friends.
>> This could easily become dangerous for both man and animal.
>> After Halloween, I received no further reports and could only hope
>> the bears survived until they hibernated.
>> This spring, just before the snow disappeared, all six bears came out
>> of their den and wandered all over the same familiar territory they
>> trekked in the spring of 2007.
>> I saw them before mid-April and dreamed nightly of taking another
>> family portrait, a highly improbable second once-in-a-lifetime
>> On 25 April 2008, I achieved my dream.
>> When something as magical as this happens between man and animal,
>> Native Americans say, We have walked together in the shadow of a
>> rainbow. And so it is with humility and great pleasure that I share
>> these exhilarating photos with you. Do pass them on!
>> Sincerely,/ /Tom Sears./
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