Examining the ‘Grizzly’ Details: “‘There’s no music of the spheres,’ [director Werner Herzog] thundered from the stage, his brow furrowed in a sort of Teutonic darkness. ‘And there’s no harmony, and the common denominator in nature, as we find it out here among wild bears, is hostility, chaos and murder. . . . Bears kill bear cubs sometimes, to stop the female mothers from lactating, so they have a partner for mating again. But I like to say that male bears kill the cubs to have the females ready for fornication. I say ‘fornication’ as an insult to all the New Age people on purpose. ['Grizzly Man'] is a definitive anti-Walt Disney movie. I think we need it.’”
Werner Herzog has come out with a new movie about the life — and death by mauling — of amateur grizzly bear naturalist, Timothy Treadwell.
Since I’ve only recently become interested in bears, I hadn’t heard of Timothy Treadwell. Ever vigilant in the search for knowledge, I did a Google search and came across several interesting articles.
The first is by our pal, Lynn Rogers, of the North American Bear Center. Lynn knew Timothy Treadwell and had visited him several times in Alaska while observing grizzlies. (Incidentally, Lynn still goes to Alaska to study grizzlies — learn about that at the Wildlife Research Institute web site.) Lynn wrote an article about the mauling deaths of Treadwell and his friend Amie Huguenard for the Coastal Bears of Katmai National Park website.
“The last thing Tim and Amie would have wanted is to become notorious for being the first fatalities in the history of the Park. Tim once told our mutual friend, Kent Fredrikson, who similarly spends his summers camping and walking among Katmai grizzlies, “If they ever come to pick me up and find me dead, I hope they just bury me and don’t say a word.” With all the publicity surrounding this tragedy, I personally hope that people will not lose sight of the rarity of this kind of event.”
Alas, with the release of this movie — and with the recent black bear attack in northern Minnesota that received such an astonishing amount of publicity — I fear people are going to get wrong ideas about bears. Certainly, grizzly bears are a different sort of animal from black bears. Most people, though, aren’t going to distinguish between the two. In their minds a bear is a bear is a bear. Dangerous. Will kill and eat you. Extremely scary. Must kill on sight.
I found another really well-written article on the Outside Online site. Author Doug Peacock not only covers the facts around Timothy Treadwell’s life and death, he also discusses grizzly predation in general, its causes, and how it can be prevented. I find Doug Peacock to be a kindred spirit:
“What is the value, then, of face-to-face encounters with carnivores, who on rare occasions size up Homo sapiens as chow? The beasts that used to sweep down on a village and carry off a person are gone—so rare that maulings like this one make headlines in a way head-ons along the Alcan Highway never will. But here’s an animal essential to us all, useful to distant corners of the soul: the grizzly roaring out an enforced humility, reminding us of our place in the food chain.”