Maya is referring to a prized cub sighting last spring at
Whistler Olympic Park, which was highly anticipated
by the family of four, who owns and operates Whistler
Photo Safaris, an off-road bear-viewing experience for
guests on the park’s legacy trail network.
Before the sighting, Maya and her brother Jacob knew
that the mother bear was pregnant, so finally seeing
the cubs was a moving experience. Even at such a
young age, Maya has the heart of a poet and deeply
ingrained passion for Whistler’s black bears — a sort
of unofficial scout and photographer for her family’s
Some families spend their evenings over board games.
Not this one. Maya and Jacob, 13, were born and
raised on the good stuff that grows from mountain
living. Most nights in the spring, summer and fall, the
family is bumping around in one of Whistler Photo
Safaris’ Jeep 4X4s, looking to catch up with their
neighbours, who just happen to be black bears.
Last year’s cub sighting was a family effort. Papa
bear Jason Coleman was the first to hear the cry.
Mama bear Sherry Hilliard identified where the cry
was coming from. And it was Maya’s sharp eyes that
spotted not one, but two cubs up a tree — a discovery
of no small feat.
A Family Affair
STORY BY NICOLE FITZGERALD
We saw the cubs when they came out of the tree,” says Maya Coleman, age 10. “They peeked around both
sides of the tree. It was like the tree had grown
ears all of a sudden.”
IMAGECOURTESYWHISTLERPHOTOSAFARIS/JACOBCOL E M A N