Timothy Treadwell Disease


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Keith
October 28, 2003, 05:11 PM
Poor Timmy Treadwell (the animal rights activist who recently got ate by one of his friends) is becoming a joke around Alaska, while being enshrined as a hero in California... Go figure!

www.adn.com

Don't feed the bears with trash


MIKE DOOGAN
COMMENT

(Published: October 28, 2003)
When I was growing up in Fairbanks, bears didn't wander into town much. Moose either. It's as if they knew that Fairbanksans had a word for moose and bears that showed up in town.

The word for moose was "dinner."

The word for bears was "rug."

Oh, you could eat bear if you wanted, but it is usually tasted strong and ate tough. For most people bear meat was a last resort food, along with rhubarb and freezer-burned fish.

Animals did show up once in a while, it's true. A moose chased my little brother down our street one day and straight up a big birch tree. While the moose stalked around beneath the tree, my brother proclaimed at the top of his lungs that he'd done nothing to provoke the moose, most certainly not throwing rocks at it. Uh-uh. Nope. No way. Not a single rock. Never.

The moose finally lost interest and walked off down the street where, a couple of blocks along, it collapsed and died from a .30-caliber heart attack.

Maybe the heart-attack-inducer needed the meat. Or maybe he just wanted to keep the moose out of his garden. Moose were notorious raiders, and vegetable gardeners tried all sorts of moose repellent: soap, daffodils, chicken-wire fences. One old-timer even claimed to use wolf urine, although he was never very clear about how he acquired the substance.

Of course, nothing was quite as effective as bullets. The game wardens of the time tended to look the other way when these violations of hunting season occurred, under the theory that any moose that walked into a town was trying to commit suicide, anyway.

Bears were even rarer in town than moose. Most of them didn't get any farther than the city dump. Part of the time I lived in Fairbanks, there was nothing to tempt them away, since Fairbanksans didn't put their garbage at the curb. For one thing, there were no curbs. For another, there was no garbage collection. Even after there was, I guess the smell of the dump was just too appealing.

The occasional bear that did make it into town, usually a young black bear, would cause a ruckus. There'd be radio reports and police cars coming and going until, finally, some old-timer caught the bruin trying to break into his cache and filled it full of lead.

Both the law and society are different now. We let the moose wander around our streets like they are sacred beasts. And you can actually get into legal trouble for shooting a bear in a neighborhood. Changing attitudes toward wildlife also mean there's no bear hunting in the park behind town, and in the warfare that is part of a bear's daily life, the losers frequently get pushed down into the city.

So you'd think the residents of the Eagle Crossing subdivision would be more careful about leaving their garbage out to attract bears. But, apparently, they aren't.

Eagle Crossing is a new subdivision near the banks of Eagle River. According to Fish and Game biologist Rick Sinnott, a brown bear is using it as a smorgasbord because residents are putting their garbage out days before it is to be collected.

You don't have to be a bear expert to know that, particularly in built-up areas, bears use river and creek banks as ways to get around. Or to know that bears like garbage, particularly before the fish and berries arrive in spring and after they play out in fall. People who leave their garbage out are just baiting bears.

Why do they do it? Most likely they've got what I've come to think of as Timothy Treadwell disease: They just don't respect bears. Respect in this case is recognizing that bears are smart wild animals who always have the potential to be dangerous. You don't try to make pets of them, and you don't act like you're living in Malibu when you're living in bear country.

The rules aren't complicated or hard to follow. Don't leave food around, even if you call it garbage. If you see a bear, steer clear. If it hangs around anyway, call Fish and Game.

If everybody's lucky, this episode will end with the bear taking off to hibernate. If they aren't lucky, far and away the most likely result is a dead bear. State statistics are sketchy, but they indicate that man-bear encounters have resulted in thousands and thousands of dead bears for every dead human.

And if everybody is really, really unlucky, some kid on his way to school is going to run into the bear with grisly results. Nobody wants that. So pay attention, folks. There are bears in the neighborhood.

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El Tejon
October 28, 2003, 05:23 PM
Shoot the animals? Imagine that!:rolleyes:

They are animals, kill them, don't hug them.

Bill Hook
October 28, 2003, 05:29 PM
Got some of those tree-hugger sites where he's being martyred to post links for?

I'm anticipating the hilarity right now.

gun-fucious
October 28, 2003, 05:56 PM
maybe i should make some Tshirts:
:evil:

Johnny Guest
October 30, 2003, 04:00 PM
- - - Is Eagle Crossing in an incorporated municipality? Is garbage pickup art of city services or a private contractor deal? Aren't there RULES concerning when one puts out one's trash? (I understand, most people don't like any more rules than necessary, but, hey, household garbage at the side of the road seems to equal BEARS at the roadside as well . . . .)

;)

Johnny

TallPine
October 30, 2003, 04:28 PM
Where is is Eagle Crossing? Up the valley from the city of Eagle River?

Anyway, I'm not so sure folks are any more careless with their garbage than they used to be - there's just more folks and more garbage.

It really is a dilemma, short of building a nuclear bomb shelter and storing your garbage in there.

Once summer I managed a little gift store/gas station/ rental cabins business high up in the CO Rockies. Of course we had lots of trash, and stored it in a 4 x 8 trailer which was then used to haul the garbage once a week or so to the county dump about 50 miles away. (this really was way up in the mts!)

Anyway, a certain local resident took note of this arrangement, and made a habit of dining at the establishment after dark. But his or her table manners were atrocious, leaving trash all over the yard. So I found an old piece of plywood and chunk of railroad tie and made a makeshift cover for the trailer. This was quite effective, such that the bear chose to bypass it altogether and simply remove the front side of the trailer to enjoy his/her nightly repast.

So the next plan was to store the garbage inside an old log garage on the property. A few mornings later, the doors had been ripped open and trash again spread all over the yard. This was very comforting to us, because we were living in a camper trailer nearby, which of course was not nearly as strong as the garage. :eek:

I put the garage doors back together, and parked the front bumper of my old beater Chevy pickup right up against the doors. The bear never did figure out how to start up and move the pickup, but I found claw marks all over the hood, and also at the very top of the garage doors - the bear had obviously been standing on its hind legs on the hood of my pickup.

Finally, the DOW brought up a trailer mounted culvert trap, which seemed to act as a fairly strong bear repellent for we never did catch the bear.

The moral of the story is don't store garbage inside of anything that you don't want to be destroyed. :)

Andrew Rothman
October 30, 2003, 04:57 PM
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?s=&postid=575270

Sven
October 30, 2003, 10:27 PM
http://www.adn.com/front/story/4118880p-4134149c.html

On the tape, shortly after the warning to "play dead,'' Wilkinson said, "Huguenard is heard to scream "fight back.'' Treadwell later yells "hit him with a pan,'' Wilkinson said.

After that, the tape goes dead. Because there are no pictures, troopers believe it is most likely the bear came in the night. The tent in which Treadwell and Huguenard had been camping showed no signs of being ripped open by a bear trying to attack people inside, but a friend of Treadwell's said it was common for him to leave the tent in the dark to confront bears that approached his camp.

"His way of operating was to get out of the tent immediately when he heard a bear around,'' Juneau filmmaker Joel Bennett said Wednesday. "He subscribed to the theory that the worst thing you could do was stay in the tent."

http://www.malibutimes.com/articles/2003/10/16/news/news6.txt

At first she shouted, "play dead," following Treadwell's formula for pacifying an angry bear. When that didn't work, Treadwell, who never carried a weapon into the wilderness, is heard yelling for her to bring a pan and hit the animal.

---

Watch some of his work:

http://www.leonardodicaprio.org/environ_tread_vid.html

http://www.leonardodicaprio.org/tread_mov_1.html

gun-fucious
October 30, 2003, 11:02 PM
new flag

Keith
October 31, 2003, 11:38 AM
Eagle Crossing is another of these cookie cutter subdivisions on the outskirts of Anchorage. It's no different than similar suburbs all over the US other than the fact that they have grizzlies instead of raccoons and possums raiding the garbage. In other parts of the US, suburbia moves into rural farmland. Up here it moves into virgin wilderness.

Rural communities shoot such bears, relying on the South Park "it was coming right at me" defense, but suburban Anchorage dwellers prefer to get out the video camera and take pictures. And of course they leave the food/garbage around that attracts the bears.

And that's what I found interesting about the commentary that started the thread. Mike Doogan, the old coot writing the piece is pretty hard-nosed about wildlife and its place. Yet, isn't shooting such a bear better than letting it become habituated to humans? A "Treadwell" bear with no fear of humans is a dead bear anyway, sooner or later. And if that bear kills someone before it is killed, then that rebounds on every bear around. It is the suburban soccer moms who will be the first to call for "controls" on wildlife when somebody gets hurt.

Keith

Balog
October 31, 2003, 12:34 PM
Are there a lot of suburban soccer moms in Alaska?

Keith
October 31, 2003, 12:42 PM
Sure! Anchorage is becoming no different than any other town as it becomes peopled by escapee's from the south.

And that's what lies at the heart of the article. Here in Kodiak, or just about anywhere outside of Anchorage, there is no real problem with "bears in town". Bears in town don't live long enough to become a problem.

Keith

Sven
October 31, 2003, 02:41 PM
I watched more and more of his footage last night, and finally became enraged.

At one point, he is between the mother and the cubs (within 15-20 feet of both, from what I can tell) and is saying - to paraphrase "it is very dangerous to be between a mother and cubs. never do this"

Nice - show the kids yourself doing what they shouldn't do. That's the way, bud.

Add to that his ramblings about saving the bears from poachers who didn't exist, his refusal to arm himself, and you have a Darwin Award winner, by all accounts.

Keith
October 31, 2003, 02:55 PM
you have a Darwin Award winner, by all accounts.

Damn! I missed my chance... Just checked Darwinawards.com to find the 2003 "slush pile" is already filled with submissions on treadwell. I'm sure he'll place well in the 2003 awards.

Keith

Sergeant Bob
October 31, 2003, 04:01 PM
Sure! Anchorage is becoming no different than any other town as it becomes peopled by escapee's from the south.
Doesn't it make ya ill? People move somewhere to get away from it all, then they bring it all with them.

TallPine
October 31, 2003, 04:25 PM
People move somewhere to get away from it all, then they bring it all with them
It's called "Californication"

Ivanimal
October 31, 2003, 05:23 PM
Dont blame me im still here!:cuss:

Andrew Rothman
October 31, 2003, 06:02 PM
Via the Minneapolis Star Tribune: http://www.startribune.com/stories/389/4182663.html

(Matt sez: Hey, look -- common sense thinking from the LA Times!)

Is it animal magnetism or just plain stupidity?
J. Michael Kennedy and Christopher Reynolds, Los Angeles Times

Published November 2, 2003

All the man jet-skiing along Quebec's Gatineau River wanted was a big and unusual wild animal as a pet. But to claim the cute bear cub he saw paddling in the current in late September, he figured he'd have to tame it a bit. So he ran it over. Then he roared around and rammed it again. And again.

As the mother bear watched from shore, the man swooped in and grabbed the weakened cub by a leg and, to further wear it out, dunked the creature underwater. And dunked it again. Then he tied it with a rope as he raced for the public dock, where Canadian wildlife officials intervened.

They didn't charge the man in what they're calling the "Buddy Bear" case. Nor, however, did they let him keep the cub, which is recovering in a wildlife sanctuary -- yet another victim in a type of story that lately seems commonplace: A human and animal come together in a tale that is supposed to glow with warmth, but instead takes a bizarre or chilling twist.

Increasingly, wildlife experts and veteran outdoor types are shaking their heads at what might be labeled the Doolittle Delusion -- the belief that with the right attitude, it's possible for a human to bond with a wild animal in the manner of Hugh Lofting's fictional doctor, whose knack for sensitive rapport led to spirited, interspecies rap sessions.

Dangerous encounters

Recent news clips reveal that socializing with lions and tigers and bears often turns unpleasant. Within the space of a few days last month, a 600-pound tiger dragged illusionist Roy Horn off a Las Vegas stage by the neck, and grizzlies in Alaska's Katmai National Park killed photographer Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, as they attempted to live among them. And then there was the tale of Antoine Yates, a New York cabdriver hospitalized after a run-in with a 400-pound Siberian-Bengal tiger.

The creature, which Yates apparently had acquired as a cub, had grown so big that it had taken over an apartment in a Harlem housing project. To capture "Ming," a SWAT team rappelled down the side of the building and shot the big cat with a tranquilizer dart. Inside, authorities also found a 5-foot-long alligator.

Yates, whose injuries were relatively minor, told reporters he was keeping the creatures because he wanted "to show the whole world that we all can get along." The tiger, he told the New York Times, "was like my brother, my best friend."

Naturalist David Quammen, whose most recent book is "Monster of God: The Man-Eating Predator in the Jungles of History and the Mind," puzzles at the paradox of people's "ancient compulsion . . . to bask in the magnificence" of the creatures they most fear. "Some people treat these things as accessories to their identity. And that's true of animals generally, not just dangerous ones. . . . People say, 'I've got a great big scarlet macaw in my living room. I must really love the wild.' Well, wrong."

Yet such interspecies infatuations have fueled a wildlife black market that's only getting bigger -- and the more dangerous the animal the better. The Humane Society of the United States estimates there are more captive big cats in this country -- as many as 10,000 -- than all of those living in the wild in Asia. People have as many as 300,000 wolves or wolf-dog mixes roaming their homes or yards. And in 2000, people owned 9 million reptiles, including snakes, as pets. As many as 90 percent of these lizards and serpents die each year. But fatality cuts both ways in such relationships.

In 1999, authorities entered a Los Angeles mobile home and found a menagerie of poisonous snakes, piranhas and other exotic animals. In the middle of the living room lay Anita Finch, curled in a fetal position. Her hand, pierced by two small wounds, clutched a note: "Northridge Hospital ask for ICU." The bite marks suggested she had been killed by one of her snakes, probably a rare, footlong Gaboon viper.

"The lesson," says Richard Farinato, who monitors captive wild animals for the Humane Society, "is don't try to turn wild animals into stuffed toys."

Ignorant of behavior

Common sense is not always the human species' strong suit, though, and men and women often behave in ways that fall somewhere between risky and stupid, Farinato says, offering as evidence the photos he's seen of people grinning beatifically while standing within charging distance of bison, elk and bears.

Michael Hutchins, director of conservation and science for the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, is not amused by such naivete.

"We have, as a people, become ignorant of animals and animal behavior," he says. "Yet at the same time, we yearn to be close to animals and wildlife. It's an odd combination, and it has some dire consequences."

In some cases, getting within chomping distance of a bear or mountain gorilla is part of the attraction, psychologists say. Consciously or not, people are making a raw power grab -- hoping that if they survive their close encounter, the animal's strength will transfer to them.

"The belief is that there's danger, but I'll be able to escape it," says Steve Sultanoff, a psychologist and diver in Irvine, Calif. "It's almost a sense of immortality: 'I can get out of danger; I'm all-powerful.' "

Jim Oltersdorf, an Alaskan photographer, shares that view. But he has no use for the notion of interspecies friendship. He considered the late Treadwell "an idiot."

As it happens, about the time Treadwell was mauled, Oltersdorf was hunting grizzlies in the park. Treadwell made a point of eschewing even pepper spray. Smith was packing a huge Smith & Wesson .50-caliber handgun and another member of his party carried a powerful "buffalo gun."

Even at close range, it took 12 shots to kill one large grizzly -- ample evidence of the bear's destructive ability, Smith says.

Oltersdorf has no sympathy for "fools" who venture into the back country without adequate defense, but thinks he knows why they do it: "The American public has bought into talking animals."

Bill Hook
October 31, 2003, 06:05 PM
Oltersdorf makes things pretty plain, just like they ought to be. :D

gun-fucious
October 31, 2003, 09:25 PM
better call PETA
people eaten by terrible animals!

the writter missed my all time favorite "bad pet" news item

Man Eaten by Pet Lizards
http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=97693

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