What Bears Teach Us

ISBN 9781771606943
Softcover | Publication Date: April 16, 2024
224 Pages

About the Book

Now available in paperback, this lavishly illustrated book explores the complex behavioural characteristics of North America’s largest land carnivores by examining the bear–human relationship from the bear’s perspective.

From the first moment Sarah Elmeligi came eye to eye with a grizzly bear, her life changed. In a moment that lasted mere seconds, she began to question everything she thought she knew about bears. How could this docile creature be the same one with a fearsome reputation for vicious attacks? Through years of research, Elmeligi grew to appreciate that bears are so much more than data points, stunning photos, and sensational online stories. Elmeligi expertly weaves the science of bear behaviour with her passionate account of personal encounters. Dive into the life of a bear biologist as Sarah’s colleagues recount their own “stories from the field” – intimate moments with bears where they were connected to an animal with personality, decision-making capabilities, and a host of engaging behaviours.

Join Elmeligi and Marriott on a journey that examines and shares the behaviour of black, grizzly, and polar bears in North America in a way you’ve never seen before. What Bears Teach Us will surprise you, inspire you, foster your curiosity, and teach you something new about bears and maybe even yourself.

About the Author(s)

John E. Marriott is one of Canada’s premier professional wildlife and nature photographers, with a career spanning two decades and images published worldwide in National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Canadian Geographic, Maclean’s, and Reader’s Digest. He is also the wildlife photography columnist for Outdoor Photography Canada magazine. His books with RMB include The Pipestone Wolves: The Rise and Fall of a Wolf Family (with Günther Bloch), What Bears Teach Us (with Sarah Elmeligi), and The Kootenay Wolves: Five Years Following a Wild Wolf Pack. John has also produced four coffee-table books, including: Banff & Lake Louise: Images of Banff National Park, Wildlife of the Canadian Rockies: A Glimpse at Life on the Wild Side, The Canadian Rockies: Banff, Jasper & Beyond, and Tall Tales, Long Lenses: My Adventures in Photography. John prides himself on being a conservation photographer known for capturing wilderness scenes and wild, free-roaming animals in their natural habitats. He currently lives in Canmore, Alberta, with his wife, Jennifer.

Sarah Elmeligi has been working with bears for nearly 20 years. After completing her master’s research examining the impacts of bear-viewing tourism on bear behaviour in the K’tzim-a-deen Grizzly Sanctuary on the northern tip of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, she completed her PhD studying grizzly bear habitat use of hiking trails in the Canadian Rocky Mountain national parks. Sarah is truly an interdisciplinary researcher and values incorporating the human dimension in her understanding of the bear–human relationship. Her research has been published in books, magazines, and scientific journals and presented at conferences around the world. Away from research, Sarah has worked tirelessly to increase protection of bear habitats and move communities toward successfully coexisting with bears. She has represented bears and their conservation as a scientist, environmentalist, and government land use planner. She currently lives in Canmore, Alberta, with her husband and daughters. For more information about Sarah’s work, please visit www.saraheconsulting.com


“Renewal is a foundational paradigm in the Blackfoot thought world. Renewal teaches us that we humans live in a very narrow spectrum of ideal conditions for our existence. Changing those ideal conditions may mean the disappearance of Homo sapiens, not unlike the disappearance of our Neanderthal relatives. Consequently, in Blackfoot thought we have to maintain those conditions that make for our existence if we want to survive far into the future. What can Bears teach us? Bears are generalists who help to maintain and renew those conditions that make for our continuing survival. This book, What Bears Teach Us, is a fantastic teaching resource about what we can learn from ‘all my relations,’ and in this case the Bear, about the environment and ecological balance that will bring about ideal conditions for our continuing survival.”—Leroy Little Bear, Blackfoot researcher and professor emeritus at the University of Lethbridge

“John Marriott and Sarah Elmeligi have teamed up on a great guide to the inner life of bears as they eke out an existence in our increasingly human-dominated world. The photographs of bears in the wild and on our streets are remarkable, and Sarah’s essay explores the nuances of bear behavior and the need for us humans to better understand how we interact with these largely harmless bruins. A great gift for anyone who lives or recreates in bear country.”—Jeff Gailus, award-winning environmental journalist, adjunct professor at the University of Montana and author of The Grizzly Manifesto

“We can all learn from the wisdom of bears. Our ancestors knew this, like Native peoples today. Sarah Elmeligi and John Marriott show us, in gorgeous photos and engaging words, the wisdom that scientists have gathered about bears. ‘Managing bears is about managing people.’ The book guides us in learning how to coexist safely, instead of risking both human and bear lives. Both educational and inspirational, this is a book to cozy up with! As more of these amazing creatures are finding their way through my neighborhood, I’m planning to get a few extra copies for my friends.”—Darcia Narvaez, professor emerita of psychology, author of Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture, and Wisdom