Photo Gallery 2 Images
ASHLAND, Ore. -- Parkgoers in Ashland got quite the surprise this week. A mama bear and her two cubs were seen in a tree at the entrance of Lithia Park on Sunday and Monday.
Veteran Wildlife Photographer, Dan Elster, says he was in the right place at the right time. He was selling some of his photos around the corner when a fellow artist told him there were bears in the park.
"It was kind of like a gift that just fell in my lap," says Elster.
Elster ran home, got his camera, and got several up-close photos of the bears. Today Elster told NewsWatch12 there were about 30 people gathered around the tree on Sunday.
"Most of the people around here were very respectful, which isn't always the case when these wildlife situations happen," says Elster.
Ashland Police showed up to monitor the bears and the crowd. Today police told NewsWatch12 it's common to see bears this time of the year.
"It does seem like there's been a lot of bear activity around," says Elster.
The Ashland Police Department says you should never try to feed the bears, or approach a bear, especially with cubs.
"Mama bear is very protective of those cubs," says Deputy Police Chief, Warren Hensman.
Dan says he's photographed bears before, and never got any great pictures. He says his lucky, close-encounter this week changed that.
"I did get a few images I'm really happy with," says Elster.