A female with two young cubs gently nudges an inexperienced — and slightly reluctant — male into action.
When Wild Canadian Year director Jeff Turner and a pilot from Hinton, Alberta set out to look for grizzly bears in the Rocky Mountain wilderness, they knew that the odds were not in their favour. "The landscape we were flying over was incredibly vast," says Turner, "the bears are just emerging from the den and are very spaced out."
They traveled to a very remote valley, far from any roads or human habitation with a Cineflex camera bolted to the helipcopter's frame and controlled from inside. Adult grizzly bears are usually solitary creatures, so Turner was amazed to capture four of them together. "It was like winning the lottery!"
From a vantage point in the sky, the crew was able to capture a rare springtime mating ritual. "This family drama was unfolding before our eyes," recalled Turner, "the male bear couldn't believe his luck at finding this female who was interested in him, but seemed kind of shy and confused. He doesn't seem to know what to do."