The Quest for Paddington

Ok, so you all know I have a soft spot for all things ursine. From the biggest on the furthest ice-floe to the smallest in the steamiest forest, there is something that has grabbed me throughout my career when it comes to all things “bear”. So, ironically on the eve of a trip to Alaska as I write this (June 14, 2023), here’s a short video of a species that I have had the delight of finally encountering in the wild for the first time just a few weeks ago…the Andean, or Spectacled, bear. Traditionally, one of the hardest species to see, this most beautiful of furry forest dwellers has been the inspiration for the literary – and now Hollywood – persona of Paddington Bear; a marmalade munching, talking version that has enthralled children (and adults!) alike for decades. To see these bears successfully in the wild is tough…and limited often to chance encounters, or perhaps one particular (and very short) season in one very particular place, when the wild avocados ripen. However, the unpredictability of this season makes filming and photographing them tough. Instead, I chose to head north in Ecuador to a little-known canyon where, because of the abundance of food, there is a year-round population of bears. Working with Danilo Vasquez – a man who for 15 years has studied and tracked these individuals and their offspring – it has been possible to capture some great moments….all of which will ultimately appear in my (covid-delayed!) book on America’s bear species. I will be back there in January 2024 to see a new generation of cubs, and secure a whole (hopefully!) raft of new pictures of these wonderful animals…and if you’re interested in going to try and see them for yourself, then reach out to me and I’ll give you all the things you need to know before you go….as well as help set you up for some better than average access ūüėČ In the meantime though, go full screen, hi-res, turn up the sound, and enjoy spending a few minutes in remote northern Ecuador..