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   Undertoad  Friday Jul 6 08:33 AM

July 6, 2007: Benign bears befriend bruin benefactor

Meet Alaskan Charlie Vandergaw. He's a friend to the bears, nursing them back to health when they're injured, feeding them, now even petting and riding them.

According to the Snopes entry found by xoB, the above was all documented by the Anchorage Daily News:

What goes on each summer at Vandergaw's remote homestead is so far from the ordinary as to be almost unbelievable. Visitors tell of him petting black and brown bears, playing with grizzly cubs while sows stand by, sitting on bears and teaching them tricks. His own photographs show even more. They capture him easing to within feet of breeding grizzlies and nursing an injured brown bear.

A visiting photographer is amazed to see head-and-shoulder shots of breeding grizzlies taken with a wide-angle lens -- photos that would require the photographer to be within feet, if not inches, of the bears.

There are photos of Vandergaw playing with grizzly cubs while their mother lounges nearby. There are pictures of gangs of bears around his cabin, of individual bears in his cabin, and even close-ups of a grizzly's injured mouth.

It might all seem unbelievable if not for the fact that his photos are confirmed, in effect, by those taken by other photographers and by the black bear wandering around the yard.
Wildlife officials are having none of it; they say he's only a dice roll away from a severe mauling. But according to Snopes, it's worse than that, they say he's a criminal:
As of April 2007, Alaska news sources reported that the state attorney general's office was considering bringing criminal and civil actions against Vandergaw for his continuing to violate state law by feeding wild bears.

More story and three more pics at the Snopes entry.

monster  Friday Jul 6 08:50 AM

Awesome Alliteration Announces And Adorns Extra-special End-of-week Image

piercehawkeye45  Friday Jul 6 08:55 AM

God, this reminds me of the Grizzly man.

odie number seven  Friday Jul 6 09:02 AM

The bears probably see the old man as one of their own. Look at him!

Kitsune  Friday Jul 6 09:14 AM

Timothy Treadwell not impressed.

TheMercenary  Friday Jul 6 09:14 AM

Playing with fire. No different than owning a Pit Bull. All fun and games till someone gets hurt.

Hoof Hearted  Friday Jul 6 09:52 AM

Not completely trusting...I noticed the cattle prod prominently on display and near to hand in the last posted photo.

Coign  Friday Jul 6 11:31 AM

"Hey Boo-boo, did you bring the BBQ sauce and how do you like your human roasted?" -Yogi

Clodfobble  Friday Jul 6 12:03 PM

Hey, there's no date in the thread title! Totally threw me off.

HungLikeJesus  Friday Jul 6 12:11 PM

I thought a grizzly is a brown bear.

queenb  Friday Jul 6 12:22 PM

Just an opinion but....
Cattle prod + thin skinned, placid cow = make a cow run away.
Cattle prod + thick furred, volatile bear = pissed off bear = getting your bloody ass handed back to you.
But I could be wrong.

Griff  Friday Jul 6 12:32 PM

For some reason I'm reminded of the lioness taking care of the calf.

theotherguy  Friday Jul 6 01:34 PM

Black bears maybe? They look alot like the ones in east Tennessee.

Griff  Friday Jul 6 01:59 PM

I think those are blacks. Griz have a pretty distinctive snout. If they had a good side shot you could see the difference in body structure as well.

theotherguy  Friday Jul 6 03:18 PM

The Snopes entry gives some more detail and does refer to them as black bears. There is also a shot there of him with a brown one which may be a grizzly.

TheMercenary  Friday Jul 6 04:21 PM


spudcon  Saturday Jul 7 12:59 AM

Black bear, brown bear, grizzly, with enough barbque sauce, you can't tell the difference.

usarmydoctor  Thursday Jul 12 10:50 PM

No Whining

Oh... A cattle prod. I wondered what that thing was. At first I thought it was a device to grasp out of reach objects without having to stand and possibly spill your wine. For example, should the bears rip the legs off the woman to the gentleman's right he could easily retrieve them for the paramedics -- all without standing and possibly spilling his wine. But a cattle prod makes more sense.

xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Jul 12 11:00 PM

Welcome to the Cellar, usarmydoctor.

You get to see the really bad ones. shiver On behalf of America & England, thank you very much!

rkzenrage  Friday Jul 13 12:33 AM

A grizzly has a big hump when older, a brown does not. Some say you can tell them from a brown by the face, I can't.
This guy is an asshole.
Sensitizing wild animals to humans is dangerous, to yourself and others.
These bears will now see humans and now think, Human=Food. When they don't get the food and the people run or do ANYTHING but give them what they want, how do you think they are going to react?

Griff  Friday Jul 13 07:09 AM

Originally Posted by rkzenrage View Post
This guy is an asshole.

xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Aug 8 11:16 PM

It seems there is a Bear Buddy in upstate PA, also. Only one bear but this one rides on the back of an ATV and jumps into the car to go to the gas station for M&Ms. No, they don't show Griff's face.

Rexmons  Wednesday Aug 8 11:44 PM

i think theres certain things in life that if you die doing it, it's kind of one of those thing where people go, "well...". like skydiving for one, and of course this.

BrianR  Thursday Aug 9 09:42 AM

I had a black bear (fully grown) raid my garbage can in Hazleton in May. My pit bull ran it off faster than I could grab the shotgun. I hear that it is still coming around from my neighbors. Funny thing was, there was no garbage in the can and hadn't been any for months.

Wish I had a pic though. Seeing an 800 lb bear running away from a 40 lb dog was verra interesting.

Griff  Thursday Aug 9 04:59 PM

Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
It seems there is a Bear Buddy in upstate PA, also. Only one bear but this one rides on the back of an ATV and jumps into the car to go to the gas station for M&Ms. No, they don't show Griff's face.
I just can't say no when they ask for rides man.

xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Aug 9 07:10 PM

Just don't hit a bump or you could loose a shoulder... or two

morie  Friday Aug 10 10:30 PM

seems to me those bears are just fattening up the humans for Thanksgiving dinner. look at how fat that woman is.

Your reply here?

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