Just a baby black bear rock-climbing a canyon with his mama

 They say you should never get between a mother bear and her cubs, but this mother bear seems content to let her child puzzle out the intricacies of rock climbing on its own. See the video above for the amazing animal footage, which was shot at Big Bend National Park in Texas.

These are Mexican Black Bears, a subspecies of black bear listed as endangered in Texas, and they grow to weigh 200-400 pounds--not an ideal weight for such miniscule paw holds. Yet somehow the little cub, after watching her mother traverse like a furry Alex Honnold to the safe ledge, learns quickly. She nervously negotiates the route and tops out in dramatic fashion.

These black bears are often spotten by campers in Santa Elena Canyon, part of the 800,000-acre Big Bend National Park in the lone star state. Campers and hikers might witness them lumbering around and foraging near the river with their cubs. But seeing these bears crimp, traverse and jug up the canyon walls, claws and all? That's another story.

"Rarely are [black bears] seen scaling the walls of the canyon," says a Park Ranger of Big Bend who prefers anonymity. But, he says, it happens, and it's not as impressive as the video suggests. "The cliffs actually aren't all that vertical," he says, and it's common for bears to climb anything that they perceive is climbable.


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