Black Bear Caught on Trail Cam Having a Hilarious 'Impromptu Photo Session'

A black bear has been captured enjoying a private photo shoot on wildlife cameras in New Mexico.

The photos were shared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Facebook on Wednesday evening in a post that has been shared over 100 times. The wildlife service described the images as an "impromptu photo session."

In the first photo, the bear can be seen covering its face with its paws. In the next, both paws are stretched out wide and the bear is looking directly at the cameras.

Black bear enjoys forest photoshoot
Photos of the black bear posing for wildlife cameras in the Gila National Forest, New Mexico. Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Facebook

"It's like he's playing peek-a-boo," commented one user.

"Felt cute, might eat you later," commented another.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said that the cameras had been set up by the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team to help track Mexican gray wolves in New Mexico's Gila National Forest.

The Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team is in charge of monitoring the population of the endangered Mexican gray wolf. The team gathers data from November to February every year, which is when wolf populations are at their most stable.

The Mexican wolf was once found throughout Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. But, since the 1900s, human activities have caused their populations to dwindle. In 1976, the subspecies was officially listed as being endangered. At this point, the wolf was already functionally extinct in the Southwest, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In 1998, a population of Mexican wolves that had been raised in captivity were released into the wild, in the Apache national forest in Arizona and the Gila national forests in New Mexico.

Mexican wolf
Photo of a Mexican gray wolf. The endangered subspecies was reintroduced in Arizona and New Mexico in 1998 and their populations have steadily grown since. taylorm2/Getty

In February 2023, the population of Mexican wolves in Arizona and New Mexico surpassed 200 wild individuals for the first time since their reintroduction. This is more than double what the wild wolf population was five years before.

The wolves share the forests with numerous other animals, who are often caught on the wolf-monitoring cameras too. These include black bears.

The name black bear can be a little misleading as these animals can also be brown, reddish and even blonde. The adult males can weigh up to 400 pounds, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish estimates, though they average at around 250 pounds. The females are slightly smaller, typically weighing between 150 and 180 pounds.

Over the winter, these enormous fur balls go into a state of torpor, a modified form of hibernation where the animals slow down their metabolic and digestive processing to conserve energy. Around this time of year, they slowly start to emerge from their dens, looking for food.

If you see a bear, it is important to stay calm. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish says you should not run but rather back away slowly without making any sudden movements. You should never get between a mother bear and her cubs.