Wildlife photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen’s work has drawn many accolades. He was named the 2011 Conservation Photographer of the Year by Nature’s Best Photography, placing his work in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. He was named one of the 40 Most Influential Nature Photographers by Outdoor Photography. His image “Polar Dance” was selected by the International League of Conservation Photographers as one of the 40 Most Important Nature Photographs of All Time.

But Friends of Animals is cheering for Mangelsen for a different reason—he is protesting the largest grizzly hunt in the Lower 48 in more than 40 years, which is set to begin next month in Wyoming. He applied for a chance to kill one of the bears in the hopes of preventing its death, and won. Of course, he will use his permit to shoot the bears with a camera.

Mangelsen’s luck in the lottery followed a campaign spearheaded by local hunt opponents to encourage like-minded people to apply for permits to take away the opportunity from hunters, much to the dismay of the hunting community. “Well, what other way are we going to do it?” Mangelsen, 72, told the Washington Post. “We’ve petitioned the government, we’ve gone to the meetings, we’ve talked and we’ve testified, we’ve gone to legislators. . . . We have a right to protest in whatever way we feel is necessary.”

Mangelsen is one of the best-known chroniclers of what he calls the Yellowstone area’s “rock star bears.”

To “rob the opportunity of millions of people from ever seeing a bear is really sad,” Mangelsen added. “Bears do not belong to the hunters. They do not belong to the bear-watchers. They belong to themselves and the landscape.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Wyoming officials aren’t as happy as FoA about Mangelsen’s luck of the draw, claiming money from hunting has helped the grizzlies rebound.

However, the truth is expenditures for wildlife watching nationwide were $75. 9 billion and expenditures for hunting were $26.2 billion, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s own 2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.

You do the math.

To see Mangelson’s breathtaking work, visit www.mangelsen.com.

Image Credit: Sue Cedarholm