Shadow of the Bear
Travels in Vanishing WildernessBook - 2006
We have been meeting them in the wilderness, and in our dreams, since the dawn of human history. Immortalized in art and myth since we began drawing on the walls of caves, they cast a long shadow over our collective subconscious. Wherever bears endure, they are an indicator of the health of their ecosystem. Their decline—some to the edge of extinction—foretells a bigger story: that of our planet's peril.
In a series of remarkable journeys, Brian Payton travels the world in search of the eight remaining bear species. Along the way, he encounters poachers in the jungles of Cambodia, the cruelty of China's bear bile trade, and Canada's insatiable polar bear paparazzi. From the spectacled bears of a cursed Peruvian mountain to the man-eating sloth bears of India, Payton vividly captures the power and beauty of these majestic creatures while exploring their unique place within very different cultures. His quest ultimately leads to the Colorado Plateau, where an ancient reverence for black bears collides with the will of trophy hunters in pursuit of game they do not eat. The result is a collection of gripping and moving meditations on the fate of wilderness—and the vestiges of wildness in us all.
True tales masterfully told, Shadow of the Bear chronicles an unforgettable trek down the braided path of bear and human experience.