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Two Bear Cubs Found a Trail Camera—and the Results are Adorable

When a wildlife photographer reviewed footage from a cam he’d set in southern Oregon last summer, his subjects gave him a little more than he bargained for.  

Pro photographer Dan Elster regularly sets out trail cams to help him capture the incredible wildlife that roams through his backyard. He recently set his sights on photographing a family of black bears, but it seems they caught onto his scheme pretty quickly.

In the video, you can see two young bear cubs walk up to the trail camera, give it a once-over, and leap right at it. One of the cubs climbs all the way to the top before jumping off, apparently chastised by its mother.

“This family and I are having fun trying to outwit each other,” Elster wrote in the caption on his YouTube channel. “One of the cubs got the better of me on this day!” 

Elster has also managed to capture bobcats, owls and other critters in their natural environment with his trail camera method. The benefit of trail cams is that they’re a passive, non-invasive way of studying wildlife. Unlike getting up-close shots in person, the trail cams don’t intimidate wildlife or impact their natural behavior—at least, not usually. 

Of course, this wasn’t the first time curious black bears investigated local trail cams. Recently, a bear in Colorado located a camera and took about 400 selfies by accident. Elster’s bears spent slightly less time in the spotlight; the cubs were with their mother, and it’s usually in a mama bear’s best interest to keep her kids moving along.

Elster turns many of his photos into greeting cards, the proceeds of which go to conservation organizations. You can see more of his photography and support his work at bigpicturegreetings.com.  

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