The Grizzly Maze: Timothy Treadwell, R.I.P.

Animal Welfare Issues.
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abcrystcats
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The Grizzly Maze: Timothy Treadwell, R.I.P.

Post by abcrystcats » February 25th, 2006, 2:26 am

A while back I read about this guy who was nuts about bears.

He lived with them. He hugged them. He loved them and believed they had lots in common with human beings.

I liked it, and thought it was cool, but didn't pay a lot of attention. Bears aren't my area of obsession, and besides, can't a bear rip your heart out and eat it as effortlessly as a dog can play dead or shake hands?

Yeah, it's great that someone is advocating bears, but despite my love of cats, I still exercise some decent caution around the big ones. I can risk getting my fingernail ripped off, but my FACE doesn't grow back, so when I played with those tiger cubs, we didn't get TOO rough. Yeah.

I'm probably fooling myself here, but OK.

Timothy Treadwell LIVED in between some serious bears. They were healthy and well fed, and they were open to some human interaction. Well. SOME of them were open. The others were jaded or just, simply, HUNGRY. UG.

In 2003, this nice, intelligent, uneducated, much-like-me guy with a Hollywood background, became a grizzly's midnight snack. Literally. So did his girlfriend.

The whole scientific community howled I TOLD YOU SO, in one voice. And then they shut the books forever on Timothy's stupid, bare, exposed, ass.

What this book does is tell you that Timothy Treadwell wasn't just a misguided fool. It tells you he wasn't alone in his ideas. It tells you that he KNEW bears. It tells you that OBJECTIVE science has the bottom line in mind and therefore it ISN'T objective science at all. It's a subsidized, paid-for advertisement of certain IDEAS that are bound to generate MONEY from some source or another. Tim Treadwell wanted money too.

Don't we ALL?

Well, Treadwell might be dead from bears. He might have been a serious FOOL in many ways, but he was DEAD ON in many other ways. Without a doctorate, without credentials of any kind, this guy got inside bear culture. His penalty for doing this was DEATH, but so what?

His work with bears survived. And he isn't the only bear enthusiast who's DIED in the process of study.

I don't feel like condemning this guy as a total idiot. The total idiot is the guy who thinks his dog is trying to take revenge on him by escaping the yard while he's gone. The total idiot is the person who thinks that animals read his mind. The total idiot is the one who assumes that animals can reason through four or five steps to a conclusion that even some humans would find daunting.

Tim Treadwell knew damn well that by living among bears the way he was, he was an apprentice swimmer without a life jacket.
He didn't CARE. He wanted information, and he got it. It led to a dead end, as far as bear/human relations are concerned, but it was a good try.

As a result of this book, I've learned to have less respect for SCIENCE, more respect for human beings, and even MORE respect for common sense.

I don't either condemn this Treadwell guy or lionize him. I've learned from him. I see myself in him, and that is scary. But it's also helped to warn me against mistakes.

I recommend this book to anyone who's interested in animals and wants to help them without ending up DEAD.

Tim never set any boundaries. You need to set them. We do it with kids, so doing it with animals makes good sense. If he'd set those boundaries, he'd be alive today. The scientific community would have been forced to recognize him, and he'd be a feature attraction on Animal Planet. Best of all, bears would have more protection.

I'm sorry that Tim thought bears could be trusted in the same way you'd trust your estate planner. He was messed up. He died from that assumption.

But that doesn't mean ALL his work was worthless and it certainly doesn't mean that bear rugs are worth more than live bears.

Read this book. Science is bullshit, but so are WE. The truth is, I think, somewhere in between.

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stilltrucking
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Post by stilltrucking » February 25th, 2006, 3:46 am

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Last edited by stilltrucking on January 26th, 2007, 8:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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MrGuilty
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Post by MrGuilty » February 25th, 2006, 4:09 am

Alright--you've seen Grizzly Man..now, comes

Grizzly BEAR man:
http://www.studioeight.tv/phpbb/viewtop ... ght=#40120
I used to be smart

Free Rice

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abcrystcats
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Post by abcrystcats » February 25th, 2006, 6:51 pm

You know, I never saw it because I don't "do" videos on my dial-up modem. I get too impatient.

Yes, stilltrucking. Go ahead and post about the tigers and about the catlady. That's what this forum is FOR. Why would I mind? :D

If I haven't already made it abundantly clear, your catlady friend scares the ***** out of me. She BADLY needs the intervention of a TNR group. If you got some information about them on the internet, located a local group and called to alert them about her, you'd be doing her and the cats a BIG favor.

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Post by gypsyjoker » February 26th, 2006, 12:08 am

Ya know she is a good neighbor. I used to love to look at her hair before she dyed it. She has emotional problems. She loves her ex-mother in law so much she is thinking about getting back together with her ex husband. We hardly talk much anymore but it is friendly and neighborly spontaneous talk. We have been neighborsfor over 2 years the first year we used to have long conversations which got shorter over time. It would always get down to these two lines

she: my second ex husband was a truck driver

me: you don't want to marry me.


Speaking of bears I saw a PBS show about it and it said the bears that killed him were not his totem family of bears. He had stayed later than usual that year and his bears were hibernating. These were strangers and wilder bears.
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abcrystcats
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Post by abcrystcats » February 26th, 2006, 2:55 am

Yes, something like that.

No one really knows for sure WHICH bear killed him, but there are some pretty shrewd guesses, and they think it was a bear he knew, but did not have a close relationship with. The bear alternately went by the names Mr. Vicious and The Big Red Machine. That is the one that is thought to be the killer.

The part I liked about the book was that it asked the main question: What's the POINT? Why do we want to prove that bears are nicer than we thought they were? Why do we want to establish relationships with them? There seems to be a compelling need in certain sectors of the scientific and animal behavior communities to do this, but even when it's done, the bears don't benefit from it and neither do the humans. The author concludes that the BEST thing for bears is to have humans LEAVE THEM ALONE and give them space and plenty of wilderness to roam in.

I wouldn't say that the same is true for ALL our wild animals, but I agree about the bears. Bears -- grizzlies in particular -- are probably never going to adapt to the human presence. They can't be domesticated or turned into cute, natural attractions.

This obsession with humanizing them has had some dangerous consequences. Many deaths later we've learned that sincerity is no protection against tragedy.

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stilltrucking
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Post by stilltrucking » February 26th, 2006, 9:43 am

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