Is your life worth the image?

Started Aug 26, 2012 | Discussions thread
Photonix
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Re: Gain from it.
In reply to dgehrke, Aug 28, 2012

Richard White, PhD was most recently the Director of Exploratory Pharmaceutical Research at Ferring Pharmaceuticals in San Diego. His interest in photography was casual and some media outlets have incorrectly identified him as a photographer.

On his 5-day back country permit application he indicated that he had 30 years of back country experience and in contradiction to that experience also indicated that he was not carrying bear spray.

He shot 26 images over the course of 7.5 minutes after first encountering the 600 pound male bear. The first 21 show the bear foraging, unaware of his presence. The last five, taken over 15 seconds, show the bear lifting its head, taking notice of him and beginning to approach in what was described as a non aggressive manner.

It may never be known what happened next but I believe it is likely that Mr. White began to run, triggering the bear's chase-prey instincts.

Before it was shot by state troopers, the bear was identified from the photographs and was also found sitting on the body which it had stashed several 100 feet from the kill site. An examination of the bear's stomach contents confirmed it had killed Mr. White.

I am very sad for Mr. White and for his wife and 21 month old daughter. They have my heart felt sympathies. I am sad for the bear who was guilty of nothing but being a bear.

I can only find comfort in the knowledge that Mr. White was doing something he loved in a place he loved. If there is a lesson to be learned here, it is that humans must respect wild creatures when visiting their habitats and that adventure is never free from risk. I applaud the National Park Service for their handling of this incident and am sorry that Denali's perfect bear safety record is no longer.

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