Bears are extremely intelligent creatures. Not only can they count as well as primates can, but they have also learned how to use tools and are highly sensitive to emotion. As well as happiness, bears can experience grief and have demonstrated trauma responses. Their eyesight is much sharper than ours (and they have night vision), their ears are twice as sensitive as ours and they can smell a meal up to 20 miles away.
But they’re also threatened by habitat loss, human-animal conflict, hunting, the illegal pet trade, road kills and exploitation, such as dancing bears and bear bile farms.
The Remembering Wildlife series was started by photographer Margot Raggett after seeing a poached elephant in 2014 in Kenya. She then spent six months persuading the world’s best wildlife photographers to donate an image for a book, Remembering Elephants, to raise money to fight poaching.
Since then, five more books have been published, and Remembering Bears is the seventh in the series, with 100 per cent of profits from book sales going to conservation. The series has already donated £917,000 to 55 projects across 24 countries since it began in 2016.
Among the stunning photography, Remembering Bears will also feature 10 winning images from a worldwide competition, and we’ve brought together the winning images here.
Sloth Bear Fight Sequence: The Battle
Lay me down to sleep
Mother knows best
See more incredible nature photography:
Bear in a bear
The Waiting Game
Of the eight species of bear (sun bear, Andean bear, sloth bear, giant panda, Asiatic black bear, American black bear, brown bear and polar bear), six are listed as Vulnerable or Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Even those bears of least concern, such as brown bears, are at risk of being lost for good in certain countries.
Margot Raggett said she was inspired to produce Remembering Bears when she saw an image of a starving polar bear, suffering from the effects of reducing sea ice.
She said, “Climate change is having a more immediate visible impact on polar bears than for many other species. Less sea ice means less hunting time, and more bears squeezed together in smaller areas, with the extrapolation that fewer will survive.
“While it’s the case that some bears are not endangered, they do all deserve our help. One expert told me some are ‘doing just fine’ but, as their habitat shrinks, they encroach more into urban areas and are seen as problems and are often killed. I think we should ask ourselves, what sort of ‘fine’ is that? It doesn’t seem to be fine to me.”
One of the projects to benefit will be Animal Asia, set up by Jill Robinson MBE, which rescues moon, sun and brown bears from being exploited for their gallbladders and bile, and moving them to sanctuaries run by the organisation in China and Vietnam.
Remembering Bears (£44.99, Envisage Books) will be released on 10 October 2022 and is available to pre-order directly from Remembering Wildlife.
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