Monday, March 06, 2006

Bears loved Mr Treadwell...

so much they ate him.

Treadwell was a self declared “gentle warrior” protecting the bears from poaching. He got his hands on the money to continue his self promotion through fundraisers and campaigns where he told the celebrities and other contributors he was certain the bears would be killed by poachers without his protection. ...
Alaskan wildlife expert Tom Smith (a biologist at the Alaska Science Center) says that sporadic poaching in the wildlife preserves isn’t much of a problem and doesn’t pose a credible threat to Alaska’s population of 35,000 brown bears. As a matter of fact, the bears aren’t listed as an endangered species in Alaska. Most of the bears killed by humans in the wildlife parks of Alaska are killed by park rangers and other officials for being too confrontational or familiar with humans. According to the park service, bears become this way when they overcome their natural fear of humans because of too much human contact. In other words, people feed or interact with the bears, therefore the bears look at people as not a threat or a source of food, therefore the bears seek out dangerous human contact and the rangers have to shoot them. So, by singing to bears, reading them stories, giving them names (like Squiggle, Czar, Buttercup and Mr. Chocolate) and “playing” with them, this self proclaimed bear “protector” could have easily been the reason for bears getting shot by rangers. The only thing this guy was a protector of was his own ego and desire for fame. Chuck Bartlebaugh, Missoula, Montana resident and director of the national safety campaign, Be Bear Aware, told the Anchorage, Alaska newspaper that he was deeply concerned about the example Treadwell was demonstrating: "We have a trail of dead people and dead bears because of this trend that says, 'Let's show it's not dangerous.’” Tim Smith agreed with the statement, saying "Bears are not people, or even remotely like people, bears are bears, and the sooner we treat them as bears instead of humans in a bear suit it will be less dangerous for both the bears and the people." On camera, Treadwell dismissed the dangerous nature of the bears with quips like “…they won’t eat me…they think I’m another bear… they know I’m their protector and they love me…” ....
Regarding the whole getting eat up by a bear thing, that had to suck. ...


My final thoughts on the subject are this: the guy was seeking fame and he achieved it at a very high price. His hubris is to be admonished, not glorified. Some of his defenders claim that getting ate up by the bears was the “…culmination of his life’s work.” Biologist Tom Smith asks "If you consider yourself a friend to bears, and want to project a positive image about them, how is getting two bears and yourself and your girlfriend killed a culmination of your life's work?” I can’t think of anything that expresses my sentiments more accurately.

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