I was pleased to be asked by James Corwin Johnson to a sneak preview of his new relationship with Bearadise Ranch. He will be offering photography tours/classes with Bearadise in the future. I had a lovely day photographing the bears, which included brown bears and grizzly bears as they played and romped in their enclosure.
Bearadise Ranch is the home of the Welde Bears. This is a family whose history goes back to a young man, Johnny Johnsen Welde from Norway, who had a fascination with bears to the point he ran away and joined the circus. He put together a bear act and joined the Ringling Circus back in 1948. He moved to Tampa with his wife and daughter and continued his training of bears. His bears made movies for Walt Disney, Universal Studios, and 20th Century Fox, and also appeared in many television shows: The Lucy Show, Beverley Hillbillies, and Lassie to name a few. Grandson and 3rd generation animal trainer, Johnny D. Welde offers his bears for movies, commercials, advertising, and of course their famous bear shows. When the bears are not working on a project they live at beautiful Bearadise Ranch, a natural habitat facility the bears call home. Here they swim, climb trees, and enjoy life in Florida while keeping in tune with nature. There are 18 bears that reside at Bearadise Ranch. We only saw 5 of them during this visit.