Alaska on Manhunt for 70 yr. old for feeding Bears

MA-Caver

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Alaska cracks down on man who feeds wild bears


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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090523/ap_on_re_us/us_bear_havenANCHORAGE, Alaska – Charlie Vandergaw is crazy about bears.
That's obvious in a documentary made last year by a British filmmaker at Vandergaw's remote Alaska cabin and featured in the recent Animal Planet series "Stranger Among Bears." The videos show him scratching the belly of one black bear as if it was the family dog, feeding a cookie to a large black bear sitting under a tree, and feeding dog kibble to a cub from his outstretched hand.
Vandergaw has been coexisting with bears this way for the last 20 years, and he wants to be left alone.
That is not likely to happen now that the state is using a beefed-up law to prosecute Vandergaw for feeding bears. Game officials consider feeding bears a danger to humans, especially if others duplicate the behavior.
Not everyone thinks the state needs to be going after a 70-year-old retired teacher and wrestling coach.
Even if Vandergaw ends up being killed by the bears he loves, that's the Alaska way, said John Frost, who has been friends with Vandergaw for years. He recalled that when he came to Alaska in 1973 he saw a T-shirt that said "Alaska land of the individual and other endangered species."
"Yet here we are as a state going to crush this kind, gentle little guy," Frost said.
I for one am siding with the Alaska Fish and Game on this one. While it's awwie and cutesy and wonderful that this man is so trusting and wanting to help these huge animals... all he's doing is reinforcing negative and potentially dangerous behavior in a apex predator which has a long history of being lethal to man. Some people seem to live a charmed life and can co-exist with dangerous animals for years without incident. But it seems that these people are either heedless or ignorant of the potential danger they place themselves in with each interaction.

Bears are wonderful and marvelous and special creatures in the WILD. And that's how they should stay... WILD. That is where they belong in the WILD and if people go into the wild they know their risks but don't invite trouble by trying to be friends with a historically and proven dangerous animal.
 

terryl965

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I say le it be, the man loves bears and he is not hurting anyone.
 

elder999

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I say le it be, the man loves bears and he is not hurting anyone.


A fed bear is a dead bear. The man is more than a little loco en la cabeza.

On the other hand, he did this for years without any attention from the authorities. Now, he's made a documentary, part of which covered his efforts to keep the bears away, because he's too old and tired to pay attention anymore-things'd come right up to his door and "knock" at all hours of the night, black bears and grizzlies. He's run electric fence around his cabin, and stopped feeding them more than a year ago, and now the state authorities want to do something about it, and have even gone so far as to confiscate his plane so he can't get to the cabin?.

Of course, he got paid for the documentary.....

Something fishy goin' on with Game and Fish.
 

elder999

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I don't know why but the name Timothy Treadwell just popped into my noggin


While this guy was seriously endangering himself, what he was doing was actually less dangerous than what Treadwell did-Tim Treadwell never fed the bears,at least not until the last one he met, anyway. :lol: He just kind of hung out with them. Tim Treadwell was a first class nut who repeatedly said that if it were his fate to be eaten by bears, he's embrace it, and he probably was seeking exactly what happened on some level.

On the other hand, this gentleman has been feeding multiple generations of bears over the last 20 years-they've come to associate with him as a food source, not as food himself-as intelligent as bears are, there is usually a pretty clear distinction-he actually had sows that he'd fed as cubs bringing their cubs to him to feed. Fed or feeding bears can actually be pretty complacent about the presence of humans-at Katmai, Alaska, small groups of tourists are actually taken to sites where there are large numbers of brown and grizzly bears feeding on salmon. And close to them, too-not just in observation platforms that have been set up for that purpose, but fishing in the same river in waders as well. The bears generally ignore the humans, in partbecause they're too busy eating salmon, and in part because they usually don't want to have much to do with us. I've shared a raspberry patch with a black bear sow a couple of summers now: she eats her berries on one side of the patch, and I quickly pick mine on the other side of the patch, and leave-quickly.... (it's a little bit more than halfway up the mountain that's behind the house, so there's not much point in just turning around if the bear is there....)

The biggest danger here is actually to the bears, who once habituated to associating human beings and human dwellings with being fed, might approach yet another human or cabin expecting food, only to be killed. While this was occurring in a remote region where chances of that are minimalized, I don't think his is the only cabin up there. It's just like the guy from Game and Fish said, people would be killing these bears for their behavior in a more densely populated area, and the owner of the cabin has fostered that....
 

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Xue Sheng

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While this guy was seriously endangering himself, what he was doing was actually less dangerous than what Treadwell did-Tim Treadwell never fed the bears,at least not until the last one he met, anyway. :lol: He just kind of hung out with them. On the other hand, this gentleman has been feeding multiple generations of bears over the last 20 years-they've come to associate with him as a food source, not as food himself-as intelligent as bears are, there is usually a pretty clear distinction-he actually had sows that he'd fed as cubs bringing their cubs to him to feed. Fed or feeding bears can actually be pretty complacent about the presence of humans-at Katmai, Alaska, small groups of tourists are actually taken to sites where there are large numbers of brown and grizzly bears feeding on salmon. And close to them, too. THe bears generally ignore the humans, because they're too busy eating salmon. I've shared a raspberry patch with a black bear sow a couple of summers now: she eats her berries on one side of the patch, and I quickly pick mine on the other side of the patch, and leave-quickly.... (it's a little bit more than halfway up the mountain that's behind the house, so there's not much point in just turning around if the bear is there....)

The biggest danger here is actually to the bears, who once habituated to associating human beings and human dwellings with being fed, might approach yet another human or cabin expecting food, only to be killed. While this was occurring in a remote region where chances of that are minimalized, I don't think his is the only cabin up there. It's just like the guy from Game and Fish said, people would be killing these bears for their behavior in a more densely populated area, and the owner of the cabin has fostered that....

Very True, but I can't help it I just thought of Treadwell in association with.... well... feeding the bears :D

I too have had my dealings with Black bears. I use to work a tree farm that had a rather large black bear living on it, his den was actually there. He (it was a big old male) never bothered me, except of course for the time I was hooking up one of the vehicles that broke down to tow and I laid down in a pile of bear barf I didnt see until it was to late. Actually I was MUCH more concerned about deer ticks and the cougar that had been sighted in the area than the bear.

And I spent some time growing up around the Allegany Mountains use to do a lot of fishing around the Kinzua Dam too (there I was more worried about rattle snakes). There use to be a lot of people feeding black bears in the Allegany State park years ago and they too where associating food with humans and all was just fine until a hungry bear didn't get what he was after then things could get a bit scary. More than once a bear took a swipe at a human and a game warden had to catch it and take it away. However at least one time it was complete idiocy on the part of the human. He had been feeding the bear marshmallows and when they were gone he thought that it was fun to taunt the bear with the empty bag.

And in the Adirondacks, where I live now, they have had there share of Black bear problems and easy food sources, cabins, campers, grocery stores. Actually one walked right into the Grand Union at Indian Lake and was perusing the food isles during business hours... however he apparently forgot his wallet so the manager ended up pushing it back out the door with a shopping cart... He may have been a bear but apparently they tolerate NO dead beats in the Grand Union at Indian Lake :D
 
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MA-Caver

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The biggest danger here is actually to the bears, who once habituated to associating human beings and human dwellings with being fed, might approach yet another human or cabin expecting food, only to be killed. While this was occurring in a remote region where chances of that are minimalized, I don't think his is the only cabin up there. It's just like the guy from Game and Fish said, people would be killing these bears for their behavior in a more densely populated area, and the owner of the cabin has fostered that....
Thank you for that... that is what I was talking about reinforcing negative behavior. The danger also lies with the bears in becoming frustrated and ending up killing someone for lack of food or denial of food or even worse catching the "wrong scent". Then the bears are usually killed outright because they killed a human that they probably wouldn't have approached in the first place if they hadn't associated humans with food.
 

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I live on the Gulf Coast and we have a large alligator population. As a rule, it's not a problem. Alligators are by nature reclusive and wary of humans. The problem arises from tourists and a handful of block-headed locals who insist on feeding the alligators. Now you have a 6 to 12 foot animal that expects every human they see to be handing out snacks. An alligator denied is not a happy 'gator. Once they see humans as a source of food, the leap to seeing humans as a food source is not that far.

In almost every instance of an aggressive alligator or one who has started coming up into yard and eating pets, the problem can be traced to someone feeding them. My sympathy is with the alligator that has to be trapped and relocated or often killed. They're just doing what they've been taught.

I don't care how remote this guys cabin is, bears roam and people visit. Sooner or late, a hungry bear who thinks humans should feed him will meet a hiker who's fresh out of Scooby Snacks.
 
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