Banff Wildlife: Grizzly #64 and her cubs


This cub is one of three two-year olds growing up in the Banff National Park under their mother’s attentive guidance and watchful gaze. I spoke with one of the conservation officers on Sunday and he knew much about this little family.  I was happy to hear that the mother is roughly twenty years old.  When Dave told me that it made me hopeful that her experience will help her bring all three cubs to maturity.  A great addition to the overall Grizzly population in the park.  First, a bit about this encounter and then some details about the mother bear and her story.

The snow the day before had given way to rain by Sunday morning.  The wet hairs glistened as did the foliage which made added some interest to the images.  The family was grazing near the roadside but were still in pretty deep forest so the dark scene was a puzzle to work with.  We were able to stay in the car and use long lenses to fill the frames with the bears.  A safe way to encounter bruins and they carried on with very little intrusion from our car and the couple of others that came and went. 

The bears laid down at one point for a short snooze.  Two of the little bears curled in with their mom while the third draped over her shoulder hump.  I didn’t have a good angle on that moment but it was really nice just to see.   After about half an hour, the bears moved on shuffling deeper into the forest and disappeared quickly. 


Bear #64 is a well-known bear in the Banff area.  John Marriott wrote a post that touches on her while telling the tragic story of the loss of bears #109 and #108.  108 was five-and-a-half years old when she was hit by a car on July 11, 2011.  109 was her twin sister and had been run over by a train the year before.  If I had a wish I would spend it on helping these young cubs growing to an age where my kids are driving up on their own to photograph them with their own cubs.    

9 responses

  1. Beautiful shots, thanks for sharing. I, too mourn the death of any of these creatures. Too much fear and ignorance and humans can do just about anything. Sorry for your loss 😦

    September 29, 2017 at 11:42 pm

  2. bg

    great shots looking into their eyes.

    do you know if any of these are the same bears? these shots are from a camera trap in Alberta of a bear family:

    July 29, 2013 at 10:54 pm

  3. Pingback: 2012 Favourite Wildlife Photographs « Christopher Martin Photography

  4. Pingback: Banff Wildlife: Snowstorm Grizzlies « Christopher Martin Photography

  5. I enjoyed the commentary with the photos.I remember John Marriot’s story too from not too long ago. Thank you very much for sharing, you made it more personal with the story. May she and her cubs live long.

    June 11, 2012 at 7:20 pm

  6. Your photos continue to amaze. All of my grizzly close encounters (30 to 100 meters) have been in the backcountry. I love seeing the bears, especially the wild ones that haven’t met many humans, but photography when on foot isn’t really an option.

    June 11, 2012 at 4:45 pm

  7. Wonderful, but more than wonderful. Running out of adjectives for your photos, Chris! Incredible to look into their eyes. Thanks for the info on the bears.

    June 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm

  8. marnie

    Loved these pictures Chris.

    June 11, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    • Thanks Aunt Marnie! It was a special encounter with these great creatures.

      June 11, 2012 at 2:07 pm

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