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Conservation Heroes

Videos Featuring Conservation Heroes

Louisa Willcox, Grizzly Times Founder, shares videos of some people who helped save grizzly bears

Frank and John Craighead
Pioneers of Grizzly Bear Research   

"The Craighead brothers are famous for pioneering studies of grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park, and for numerous articles and documentaries published by National Geographic. Their groundbreaking work inspired efforts to save the species from extinction in the lower-48 states." - Dr. Robert Ruff (wearing the red shirt in the film clip below). In the film clips below, Frank and John are surprised by a drugged grizzly who charges their Rambler (aka “The Blood Clot”). I have to wonder where the camera person was shooting from! In the second classic film, Frank and John demonstrate various methods for gathering information on grizzly bears. There is a long National Geographic version, but they charge to see it.

A Grizzly Bear Wakes Up
The Grizzly Bear - A Case Study in Field Research

(Poor quality, but still amazing)

Doug and Andrea Peacock
Authors, Naturalists

Author, Vietnam veteran, defender of grizzlies and the wild, and the model for Hayduke in Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang, Doug Peacock has been a legendary figure in the US environmental movement for the last 25 years.

Doug served in Vietnam as a Green Beret medic, trying to preserve life on the battlefield. He came home an emotional and spiritual wreck.

Running for refuge to the last islands of uninhabited wilderness in the American West, Peacock discovered a fellow creature who had also been driven back to the same mountain sanctuary, among the tarns and granite peaks - the endangered grizzly bear. Living on the hunting grounds of this beast - a beautiful, playful, intelligent, fiercely dangerous animal - led Peacock back to a sense of his own humanity, and humility, before nature.

He wrote a bestselling book, The Grizzly Years, based on his experiences, and made this incredibly moving film that tells the story of one man's determination to resist the destructive forces which threaten our world and the survival of the wild creatures who live in it.

Peacock's War

Doug Peacock on the Today Show circa 1978
Walking It Off: A Veteran’s Chronicle of War and Wilderness
Doug and Andrea Peacock interviewed by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!
Charlie Russell: Bear Whisperer, Author, Rancher

A “bear whisperer,” rancher and author, Charlie Russell’s visionary and courageous work contributed to overthrowing countless widely held convictions concerning the nature of grizzly bears. He was one of only a handful of people to ever successfully demonstrate that, when treated as intelligent beings, worthy and deserving of respect, grizzly bears will co-exist peacefully with humans. His groundbreaking research on wild brown bears in the Russian Far East shed light on amazing potentials and possibilities for human-bear coexistence, and his efforts helped lead to the vastly improved protection of the threatened pristine Kamchatka ecosystem. Charlie was the son of famous Ontario conservationist Andy Russell, starred in four documentaries and TV programs, and authored three books: Spirit Bear, Grizzly Heart, and Grizzly Seasons.

The videos below include the famous Bear Man of Kamchatka as well as a photomontage of his astonishing work with Russian bears set to Ray Lynch's "The Oh of Pleasure".


Note: The sorts of interactions with bears featured in these films is NOT recommended. Most bears are too negatively influenced by humans, and are not as trustworthy as those you see in these photographs. These bears interacted with few humans other than Charlie, and did not look for human foods. Their involvement with humans like Charlie is sheer fresh Edenic curiosity and friendship. Also, Charlie raised and released many of these bears into the wild himself. Charlie followed very careful standards and precautions, and knew his limits, although, as he discovered, these limits were not what most bear "experts" experienced.

Another Way to Think About Bears
Kay Rush Incontra Charlie Russell (Interview)

Trento Film Festival 2008

Living Without Fear Among the Bears
Charlies Russell - Shaw TV Nanaimo
Charlie shares his experiences and views about bears.
Chuck Jonkel: Bear Researcher, Educator, Conservationist

The Great Bear Foundation and Salish Kootenai College Media have been hard at work on a film project documenting the life and work of GBF President and pioneer bear biologist, Chuck Jonkel. Jonkel developed the first capture-and-handling procedures for polar bears and black bears, developed the first database on Canada’s polar bears and their habitat requirements, co-drafted and signed the International Agreement on Conservation of Polar Bears, directed the first comprehensive study of habitat requirements for the grizzly bear in the lower-48 states, co-founded the Great Bear Foundation and the International Wildlife Film Festival...along with many, many more achievements that helped to protect wildlife and habitat in North America and beyond.


Walking Bear Comes Home combines archival film footage of Jonkel’s historic polar bear research in the Canadian Arctic and interviews with Jonkel, his colleagues, friends and family, to tell the story of one of the most interesting characters in wildlife conservation.

Walking Bear Comes Home:
the Life of Chuck Jonkel


Doug and Lynne Seus, and Bart the Bear (and Other Bears in Their Family)

The grizzly bear named Bart was born in a zoo in 1977, was adopted by Doug and Lynne Seus, and trained to be a film star.

The Seuses’ grand adventures with Bart took them from the Austrian Alps to the glamorous backstage of the Academy Awards. Bart appeared in hundreds of films, including The Bear, The Great Outdoors, Legends of the Fall, Clan of the Cave Bear, and The Edge, among others. He passed away in 2000.

The Legacy of Bart the Bear

This video is a tribute to Bart, the Seuses, and the conservation nonprofit they created to protect habitat for wild grizzlies, The Vital Ground Foundation in Missoula, MT. Since its founding in 1990, Vital Ground has helped enhance, restore and

conserve 600,000 acres of wildlife habitat in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and British Columbia.

For more information or to make a donation visit The Vital Ground Foundation

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