‘Smiling’ black bear caught on camera in Pasadena goes viral

Wildlife photographer Johanna Turner used a trail camera to capture this cheery shot of a black bear, which is going viral after she posted it on social media.

AS THE glow of Pasadena, California, lights up the valley beneath the San Gabriel mountains, this handsome black bear has been captured by the flash of a trail camera.

A black bear above Pasadena, California
Johanna Turner

Wildlife photographer Johanna Turner connected her camera to a motion sensor to take the shot, which is currently going viral after she posted it on social media. “This shot is a long exposure, so each time an animal comes, I only get one chance at a photo – so everything needs to work perfectly. Which is rare,” she says.

Turner’s goal is to show wildlife in its natural habitat. “I also want people to know that even around a megacity, we have beautiful wildlife that need their habitat protected,” she says. “It is quickly disappearing.” The San Gabriel mountains were made a national monument in 2014, with President Joe Biden recently extending the protected area to include the portion where this bear lives.

Turner says she has many “fun photos” of bears, which often accidentally end up in these sorts of “selfies”, but she is most interested in mountain lions, or cougars (see below). “[They] are very difficult to capture on camera, mostly because there simply are more bears than lions… here,” she says.

A mountain lion in California

Johanna Turner

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