Twelve years ago I was guiding wildlife artist Michael Felber
on the coast of Katmai National Park when a giant, male coastal grizzly ambled down the beach towards us on his way to a salmon filled creek. His demeanor exuded confidence and wisdom earned through over twenty years of surviving in the rugged wilderness of the Alaska Peninsula. We sat motionless in the driftwood as he passed, pausing briefly to examine us just long enough for Michael to take a photo.
Michael used this photo as a reference for a drawing using Derwent colored pencils over watercolor on coquille paper. I also wrote a story called ” Ode To Grandfather, An Essay About A Great Bear”
to help people appreciate and understand this bear’s life, which comes with the drawing when purchased.
A few weeks ago this drawing, called “Grandfather,” was awarded a prestigious jury award at the international exhibition, Focus On Nature XIII
! This exhibition is currently on view at the New York State Museum, in Albany, until January 4, 2015.
“As you can imagine I was thrilled and honored, since there are so many great works of art in this exhibition. Winning a jury award at an international exhibition is a big deal” Michael recently told me.
Michael has printed posters of this drawing in the same size as the original, and has donated them to help Chris Morgan’s conservation organization Wildlife Media. You can check out Wildlife Media’s work and buy a poster by clicking here.
They have already raised $8,000
towards bear conservation with “Grandfather!”
I am in Beijing getting ready to start a new Photography Trip and working on images from the previous trip. Due to great weather, lush backgrounds, and our chance to visit 3 separate panda breeding centers, everyone in our group had many. many chances to get incredible images of perhaps the most charismatic animal on the planet! Here are a few of my best-
The slideshow app I am using, metaslider, is very cool, but it is difficult to insert and display verticle images, so here are a few of my favorite verticles….
Panda yoga! Hanging upside down in a tree. It really looked as if this arboreal acrobat was just showing off for us!
This Young male was very excited because he could smell other females in estrus, and April is mating season. We positioned ourselves so that when he walked down his trail, we would be below him, making the perspective more dramatic and imtimidating.
The experts at the panda base say they have never had a panda cub fall from a tree and get hurt.
8 month olf panda cub having a bamboo breakfast.
The wolves and bears of Alaska are the character and integrity of the wilderness. Without them, the land is nothing but a hunting ranch. The Alaska Board of Game must be fought.
Here is a letter I recently emailed to the National Park Service at AKRO_compendium@nps.gov to support their resistance to the State of Alaska’s proposed predator control measures on National Preserve lands which are run by the Park Service. Please take a minute and support the NPS by writing a similar, personalized letter to the above email address. We only have till april 5th! I thank the alaska wildlife alliance for helping us stay on top of these issues. They do great work!
As a resident of Alaska, I have made my living as a bear and wolf viewing guide in Katmai since 2000. I applaud the NPS for standing up to the Alaska Board of Game to halt the slaughter of predators, namely bears and wolves. Having a background in Wildlife Biology from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, I have a solid understanding and belief that this is not sound wildlife management. I believe it is a scheme supported only by the hunting industry, and can cause damage to habitat through overbrowsing. I also believe that these methods directly undermine the quality of wildlife viewing, which is an invaluable resource which supports locals and brings in visitors from around the world. I do not approve of the extreme predator control methods the state allows, such as:
•Allowing hunters to use bait to attract grizzlies to snares;
•Permitting hunters to use spotlights to find and kill black bears and cubs in their dens;
•Extending hunting seasons for wolves and coyotes; and
•Drastically increasing harvest limits for predators (for example, 20 years ago the limit for wolves was commonly five per season – today in some preserves there is a limit of 10 wolves per day)
Manipulation of wildlife using these methods strips the wilderness of its character and integrity, can cause long lasting habitat degradation, and decreases the quality of wildlife viewing. The Wildlife on NPS lands belongs to everyone, and should not be controlled and “farmed” by the Board of Game.
Thank you for letting me voice my opinion,
check out another recent debunking of the Alaska Board of Game’s slaughter of bears on the kenai peninsula by former state biologist Rick Sinnot- click here
Here is well done but disturbing video about aerial wolf hunting in Alaska