These are not captive bears! Think of this as a "backyard bear feeder" where wild Black Bears come to eat nuts, berries, dried fruit. The Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary is near Orr, Minnesota. You can pay a fee to photograph the bears from the ground before the public is allowed on to the observation platforms. You have to sign a waiver releasing the Sanctuary from harm or DEATH. Basically you sign your life away. You are not allowed to set anything on the ground or bend over or kneel on the ground. Your camera backpack must stay off the ground. If a bear gets too close we were told to spread your hands out wide to show that they are empty and slowly back away, all the while talking in a deep and calm voice.
Three things really amazed me:
1. How little attention the bears paid to us humans (3 of us)
2. How MUCH attention they paid to the other bears
3. How delicate of eaters they really are. Some would only pluck out the dried cranberries of one pile of food. Others would daintily pick out their favorite nuts with their flexible lips and tongue.