The largest population of European Brown Bear (Ursus arctos) is to be found in Romania…. that is what you would hear from scientists, nature lovers and hunters interested in this species. The population is estimated today at around 5800 (depends on who you are asking). So we have established on thing… Romania has lots of bears. That means it is the ideal place to take pictures of this animals you would say. Well the answer is NO! Like all the European wildlife, the Brown Bear is hunted since the beginning of times and has evolved in a very elusive creature who avoids with all cost the contact with people. Seeing the bears is one thing, photographing them is another story.
The one problem to face when trying to photograph them is, the light. The bears are mostly nocturnal and come out after the sunset or just before that. There are places where you can take pictures from hides where bears come every evening for food that is regularly put out for them and these are, in my opinion, the best to try. In Romania as you have seen on TV during past years there are places where bears come out to scavenge the rubbish tips in towns or ski resorts. These places have become quite unpopular lately as there where a few accidents due to human “brain failure”. The authorities are now restricting the access in these areas and completely forbid flash photography anywhere near them.
I have managed to take some pictures of bears during all these years but I don’t think I am happy with any one of them. They are ok but not super. Most of the bear pictures you will see taken during day time, are the ones taken in captivity or somewhere in North America – Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horribilis). There is no way of making a difference between the two subspecies by their appearance so … what the heck. You have an example of shots here from all the categories of bears I have described above so I let you tell the difference. Don’t forget to leave a comment if you liked the pictures or have any suggestions on how to improve this website.