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J.J. Bear Society presents 'Mother Bear Man'


Ben Kilham, a man who has "mothered" more than 26 black bear cubs over the last 10 years, will speak at the J.J. Whistler Bear Society’s Bear Smart presentation on Aug. 27.

In his presentations Kilham reveals an extraordinary first person account of wild bear behaviour.

The woodsman from New Hampshire took in a pair of orphaned wild black bear cubs in the spring of 1993. By the time the cubs denned for the winter, Kilham had spent 395 hours walking them in the woods and 510 hours caring for them. He had also spent 96 hours taking field notes on their daily development.

After watching other sets of cubs, Kilham created an analysis and model of black bear behaviour. He had discovered unknown facets of the bears’ personalities that could drastically change our current understanding of the animals.

He concluded that black bears are highly sociable animals who share resources, form hierarchies, and have structured kinship relationships.

They have the ability to share insight, plan and deceive and communicate with a physical and verbal language.

Kilham’s latest book, Among the Bears: Raising Orphan Cubs in the Wild, is a personal story of the bond between animals and humans, as well as a work of science.

The book chronicles the behaviour of two sets of cubs and Kilham’s personal connection with them.

The New York Times book Review Describe it as "compelling… a vivid picture of ursine social life and intelligence."

Kilham has appeared on The Today Show and The David Letterman Show and has been featured in the New York Times and People Magazine. National Geographic has described him as "mother bear man".

Ben Kilham’s presentation takes place at Millennium Place at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 27. Tickets are available at Millennium Place; adults $9.99, children 12 years and under are $5.