A ‘smiling’ bear, seen on a motion-activated mountain camera, is LA’s latest superstar

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

What to KnowJohanna Turner, the wildlife photographer behind the site Cougarmagic, posted a photo of a “smiling” brown bear on social media on May 7The bear was photographed by a motion-activated camera above the San Gabriel Valley on April 21, 2024.The animal, dubbed “Brown Happy Bear,” has prompted dozens of delighted comments on Facebook and Instagram

So many people give the biggest grin they’ve ever grinned when they first roll into Southern California and encounter the bright lights of our glittery city.

It seems, at least at first glance, that a shaggy and sizable visitor of the ursine variety had the same reaction on April 21.

A black bear was photographed ambling by a motion-activated camera situated high above the sparkling San Gabriel Valley with … a smile on its handsome mug?

Well, humans have long assigned people-like emotions to animals, which is just what we do. But it isn’t hard to look at the “beaming” bear and find happiness in the fun photograph.

Dare we say we can “bearly” contain our joy when seeing it?

We’ll paws here for applause.

The sweet-faced snapshot, shared on May 7, has already captivated hundreds of followers on the Cougarmagic Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Wildlife photographer Johanna Turner is behind Cougarmagic, a wildlife photography site. The site also features motion-activated photographs of the bobcats, mountain lions, and other marvelous critters seen at the rugged edges of Southern California, and sometimes within the region’s more urban areas, too.

Turner, a 2019 Disney Conservation Fund “Conservation Hero,” advocates for the wildlife of Southern California while also raising funds for organizations like the Transition Habitat Conservancy, donating prints of her photographs to help a variety of conservation-focused efforts.

As for the “Brown Happy Bear,” which is the fitting name that the photographer gave the uplifting photo?

It may be a male due to its “big blocky head shape,” shared the photographer, but she isn’t sure. Also, the photographer was referring to the bear’s color in her file name, not the bear type; the species is a black bear.

Turner says the newly minted SoCal superstar is “healthy” and is surely munching upon all of the “fresh grasses” that are springing up after our damp winter.

This isn’t the only bear seen around the San Gabriel Valley in recent weeks; a mother bear recently took a quick dip in a Monrovia swimming pool as her two cute cubs looked on.

Article updated on May 10 with “black bear” information.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.