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‘Dénicheur d’Oursons’

Jardin des Plantes

A gruesome combat between a hunter and a furious momma bear. 

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The Botanical Gardens of Paris are full of meticulously sculpted but ominous statues, such as that of the lion devouring a child. Created by the same sculptor or animalier, Emmanuel Frémiet, Dénicheur d’Oursons is another, and perhaps even more brutal example of this trend.

At first glance, it seems like a heroic statue of a mostly-naked huntsman wrestling with a ferocious bear in an almost Herculean manner, but if you look closer at it, you’ll notice a grotesque trophy hanging from the hunter’s belt: a dead cub. Once it’s been noticed, the implication is clear. The human invader murdered the mother bear’s little baby, and she is attacking the man in fury.

The huntsman has stabbed the bear in the neck, but it does not seem to stop the maddened animal. The strength put into its bearhug is deadly—and the “cub snatcher” hangs loose in its arms, facing the same fate he forced the poor child into. It’s all very realistic despite its dramatic nature, from the man’s musculature to the bear’s furious fur.

Know Before You Go

The statue is located in the north east side of the botanical gardens. The closest Metro stop is the Gare de d'Austerlitz.

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June 14, 2023

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