Lions, Tigers, and Grizzlies? OH MY!
No one says it better than Judy Garland regarding the fear that comes along when picturing an 800 pound grizzly bear in your presence.
All of our lives, we are taught to fear bears, particularly the fearsome grizzly bear. Even though our society views this particular bear as a danger to the human race, one man questioned this perspective only to see otherwise for himself. The bear man, formally known as Charlie Russell, believed that there was an essential factor missing between both human and grizzly: trust. He did a research study on grizzly bears in Kamchatka, Russia on his ranch to see if grizzlies were a major problem to the ranching business because of the many claims of them eating cattle. Additionally, he started a feeding program in 1972 in which he gave the grizzlies a few cows that died of natural causes for spring time to help lessen their appetite, aiding in keeping them out of neighbors' yards. He also rescued ten brown bear cubs from a zoo in Kamchatka to live free on his land, strengthening his understanding of grizzlies not being unpredictable as everyone thought.
For eleven years, the bear man surrounded himself with many grizzlies, allowing him to have many encounters with them going in and out of the front door to his cabin. While studying these bears, he soon realized that they weren't the problem; rather, it was the fear and distrust that we have towards them that was the true issue. The belief that the grizzlies were eating the ranchers' cattle was used to justify killing them and stereotyping them as unpredictable beasts was proven false by his studies, though this took years and years to understand.
Here at IEAS, we make sure to respect our grizzlies and, through our Emotional Enrichment Program, the staff members form relationships with them that strengthen their trust in us and aids in the overall quality of life and care of the bears.
Our grizzly bears are loving, affectionate, and filled with so much personality YOU COULDN'T POSSIBLY WALK BY AND NOT CAPTURE THEIR NATURAL ESSENCE. If you have the opportunity, please visit our sanctuary to get a tour of these wonderful characters!!