An adult black bear peers into a trail camera's lens as a bear cub stands a safe distance away. Credit: Courtesy of Scott Pettit

Years ago, I first heard the phrase “charismatic megafauna” used to describe Maine’s black bears. It’s a fancy term, but what it really boils down to is, people really, really like ’em.

There are all kinds of other animals that qualify under that heading, and this week, in researching this short piece, I stumbled onto a scientific study that sought to determine the most charismatic animals, and compile a list of them.

It’s a really cool list, actually. Tigers and lions get lead billing, while generic “bears” finished in 18th place. Interestingly, polar bears were eighth, sandwiched between cheetahs (seventh) and wolves (ninth).

But as far as Maine land-based critters, bears rank highest in the study. (A quick note: Sharks, which we certainly have swimming off our coast , ranked 14th). I offer all of this as an explanation of today’s trail camera feature, which was sent in by Scott Pettit of Butler County, Pennsylvania. Not that I really needed any excuse to share a cool photo of a bear, of course — they’re charismatic, after all.

Pettit said the photo shows an adult bear standing very close to the camera, staring at the lens, while a cub lingers a bit farther away.

It’s a cool shot, as I’m sure most readers will agree.

Keep those great photos and videos coming. And be sure to be on the lookout for more forms of charismatic megafauna in your travels.

Do you have a trail camera photo or video to share? Send it to and tell us “I consent to the BDN using my photo.” In order to prevent neighbors from stopping by to try to tag particularly large bucks, moose or bears, some identities and towns of origin may be omitted.

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John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. He spent 28 years working for the BDN, including 19 years as the paper's outdoors columnist or outdoors editor. While...