Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Another "Grizzly Man" on ABC Primetime's "Outsiders"

ABC’s “Outsiders” presented another man and beast story July 8. This time, a 70 year old retired teacher named “Charlie” offers his hospitality to bears just outside his cabin home ("Bear Haven") in southern Alaska. Jay Schaeler was the correspondent, and had to promise ABC producers that he would not personally interact with the bears. It was not possible to keep that promise.

The program showed hug-ins with black bears and even grizzlies. Charlie thinks this is safer because the bears are entering his space, instead of his going into theirs, as was the case with Timothy Treadwell, who roamed the Katmai region and befriended grizzlies until finally being mauled and eaten. Treadwell was shown in Werner Herzog’s film “Grizzly Man”.

The state of Alaska might try to remove him, as it violates state law to feed bears and may be bad for their health. Wild animals can develop degenerative diseases (like diabetes) when on processed food rather than natural game and vegetation that they have evolved with. Charlie’s life may, however much like Thoreau, not be “sustainable.”

Charlie was injured slightly by a female grizzly named “Cookie” who then became more distant. But he was able to come between a mother and cub black bear and interact with the cub.

The ABC story is called “Living with Bears and Playing By His Own Rules: ‘There’s just something about a grizzly bear that’s hypnotic’”, by Kimberly Launier and Jay Schadler, link here.

A couple of years ago, PBS presented a movie about a hermit living alone in a cabin in Alaska.

I had reviewed National Geographic's "A Man Among Bears" on this blog March 8, 2008.

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