23 September 2009

Stranger Among Us

Tonight, Mr. B. and I watched Stranger Among Bears, a television documentary about Charlie Vandergaw, a 70-year-old man in Alaska who constructed a cabin in the middle of the woods and called it Bear Haven and fed grizzly and black bears for many years. In the show, Vandergaw would touch, feed, pet and even film the bears similar to what deceased eco-warrior Timothy Treadwell used to do before he was eventually killed and devoured by grizzlies in 2003.
Vandergaw was once a hunter and killed many bears in his lifetime. But at some point, he stopped the practice and started coexisting with them in a more friendly way in the last 20 years. The Alaskan government recently charged Vandergaw with 20 counts of illegally feeding game - a charge that could put him in jail for a year and fine him $10,000.
A lot of people think that what this gentleman is doing is actually harmful and upsets the natural eco-system because he has habituated the bears to depend on him for food, and made them used to being around people. They believe that bears should stay in the wild.
We haven't seen the last episode of the series, but it seems like Vandergaw's life with bears in the Alaskan wilderness is coming to an end due to increasing pressure from state authorities, including a raid by state troopers, plus the fact that he is getting too old. He might be saying goodbye to his beloved bears for the last time.
"The government will never put me to jail for having you and the rest bears here at home." Mr. B. said proudly after the show.
"And that I will never attack you!" I replied. "I will only put you in my blog as a revenge if you are not nice to me."

Video and photo credit : Animal Planet


Anonymous said...

is that a real bear touching him? he is amazing!

jordan said...

I wish I can be as close to a real bear like that too.

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