|The Preacher Bear|
We first saw the Armpit bear wandering slowly across the Fountain Flats meadow, headed directly towards a carcass that was hidden in the trees. It (he/she?) was acting very nervous about approaching the area where the carcass was, and took a few sniffs in the air and looks around, before entering into the trees and disappearing. Moments later, the Preacher bear came barreling out of the trees, acting very scared. He would stop, turn around and look, then bolt again. As he stopped and turned around again, the Armpit bear came sauntering out of the trees, walking straight toward Preacher. Preacher allowed him to get closer, but still slowly walked in the opposite direction. Eventually, Armpit caught up to Preacher, who was still acting very nervous and subservient, head down, seeming to try to not make eye contact. The two bears came nose to nose, and we all waited for the tooth and claw fight that would surely follow...but it didn't. Instead, the bears, with jaws agape, gently mouthed each other. They then began to lay paws on each other, and the Armpit bear proceeded to climb half way up onto Preacher's back. Why the terror turning to play? Brothers? Flirting? But I keep going back to: why the running fright? No pictures unfortunately (too dark).
|The Armpit Bear -- note patch of white under front legs.|
|The Preacher Bear -- note white vertical stripe on front shoulder blade.|
We had first spotted the wolves lounging in the meadow, without a care in the world. Then out of the trees, the Preacher came walking out, casually sniffing around before slowly heading towards the sleeping wolves, where he proceeded to force them out of their dreamy state and push them around. The wolves didn't seem to mind too much...they would just stand up, stretch, yawn, and get out of the bears way.
|"Yaaaawwn...ok, I'll guess I'll move"|
Two days ago, I chanced upon the Preacher bear on the side of the road. Just another Preacher sighting, I thought to myself. But, as always in Yellowstone, there is absolutely no predictability in anything. Preacher began walking straight for a herd of bison across the river. The bison were very alert to his presence, bunching up and nervously shuffling positions, but they didn't run...until he crossed the river.
|Preacher preparing his sermon...|
(there is a river between him and the bison in this shot)
|...and delivering it.|
Unsuccessful, Preacher went for another try, but unfortunately, came away with nothing but wet fur. No mistakes were made by the fleet-footed bison...too bad for the Preacher.
|A last, desperate self-baptism by the Preacher bear|