Jessica Andrews, a photographer, was "beyond amazed" when she took some photographs of a polar bear near a cross in Wesleyville, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, on March 29.
"When I saw it and started taking pictures, I was blown away," Andrews told CBC News.
The 22-year-old owner of Ocean View Photography had heard police reports about the bear. When Andrews came home from work, she scanned the area with binoculars.
"All of a sudden, he was there in the binoculars and I was shocked at first and then I was like, 'Oh my God! What a beautiful animal!'" Andrews said.
Andrews took about 200 pictures of the animal, including one where it sat at the foot of the cross. Andrews was stunned when she went through her pictures later: "Holy crap, he’s praying!" notes the Toronto Star.
Andrews said others on social media also believe the bear was praying: "When I edited them, I saw after that he was by the cross. This is the one that people were commenting on and saying that, 'He's praying.'"
In two days, Andrews' Facebook photo album had been shared more than 800 times.
"If I had the proper lens to capture animals up-close, I mean the picture would have come out beautiful," Andrews added. "My favorite one is the one where he is stood up, with his paw on the cross, looking straight at me."
Police are asking people in the area to stay away from polar bears.
The comments on Andrews' Facebook page were lively:
For you I am praying.
Incredible moment to take a photo! Lucky you!
Beautiful picture about animal curiousity. Too bad some idiots have to ruin it with their stupid religious bulls*** and ignorance.
Please don't let global warming take away all the sea ice and snow I need to live on.
If that bear had been caught looking at a crescent moon the christians here would be trying to bomb him.
At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light and the burdens of my heart rolled away....
What a picture. Signs and wonder.
Please lord send me Seal, I am hungry.
Not to smart this one, seal up by Brookfield, seems it's on the way now, not so dumb after all.
He is praying to bring him back home.
He's looking to the Cross!
Hes praying to stop climate change.
Thank you Jesus.
[S]trange how the bear is drawn to the cross.