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A bear in Colorado took 400 selfies, is being called a star

- By Natalie B. Compton

Bears, like us, know that it’s impossible to get a good selfie in one take. As one bear in Colorado demonstrat­ed, you should probably take 400 to be safe.

Last week, the Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks department posted merely four of the selfies, taken in November, to give us a taste of the magic.

“Recently, a bear discovered a wildlife camera that we use to monitor wildlife across #Boulder open space,” they said in a tweet. “Of the 580 photos captured, about 400 were bear selfies.”

Shannon Aulabaugh, a spokespers­on for OSMP, says most of the time, wildlife pass the camera without stopping. But for whatever reason, this bear paused for an extensive photo shoot.

The bear’s work is a master class in vacation photos. Chin tilts, smoldering eyes, a coy look over the shoulder.

“The engagement is iconic, the confidence really comes through,” said Andrew Matecki, a Los Angeles talent casting and art director, adding that the bear could work in the industry (should it like to) a long time, given its versatilit­y.

“She definitely knows her angles,” said Los Angeles fashion photograph­er Amanda Sophia

Rose. “She’s really catching you, bringing you in, having direct eye contact to the camera … like she’s done it before.”

(While we know the bear is a natural in front of the camera, “we don’t know male or female as the bear did not take that kind of selfie,” Aulabaugh added.)

The department has nine motion-detecting cameras set up in its 46,000-acre land system to study the local wildlife population from a safe distance. Once an animal is in their path, the cameras take a still photo and shoot 10- to 30-second videos. After dark, they use infrared light to illuminate critters, which causes less disturbanc­e than a traditiona­l flash. In addition to the photogenic bear, the cameras have also captured yipping coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, eagles and prairie dogs.

John Hechtel with the Internatio­nal Associatio­n for Bear Research and Management - a group of nearly 500 bear biologists, managers, technician­s, educators and conservati­on practition­ers in more than 40 countries — says this kind of wild animal exposure is more than internet fodder; it’s an effective tool for conservati­on efforts. The hope is that the more the public engages with viral bears, the more they’ll care about protecting bears and their habitats.

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