4/08/2010

"Bear Man" Pleads Guilty After 20 Years


A man who has fed black bears and grizzlies for over 20 years [article link] has pled guilty on charges of feeding wild game. Charlie Vandergaw, 71, has been feeding bears at his "Bear Haven" and was even featured on a special of Animal Planet. He faces a suspended sentence and fines up to $72,000 dollars. Mr. Vandergaw was importing more than 10,000 pounds of dog food to his bear habitat. Mr. Vandergaw has no dogs.

I remember watching this special on Animal Planet a couple of years ago. My first reaction was this guy is nuts. There is absolutely no margin of error in dealing with wild animals, especially bears. Grizzly bears? He is definitely nuts. As I watched this special, two other things came to mind. One, this has to be illegal. I was surprised Animal Planet actually made this special in the first place. Secondly, he was setting these bears up to be destroyed. Feeding the bears took away the fear of humans. Bears see humans and they immediately think they have food. If they can't find food, then they take the next best thing, the human. I thought that was common sense at the time. Once those bears attack a human, they are hunted down and killed. If this man really cared about these bears, he would have thought of that. I don't recall that being brought up in the special. Regardless, this guy got off easy. I suspect he will be at this again in the not too distant future.



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