238 pages, Illustrations
In October 2003, Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard were spotted from the air by the pilot who came to pick them up from their campsite in remote coastal Alaska. They had been killed and eaten by the grizzlies Treadwell had observed and lived with for thirteen seasons. As recently as June 2005, two different grizzlies killed three people in Canada and Alaska. Authorities called one of these attacks "predatory." Neither the bear community nor the international press seemed to know what to make of these unlikely tragedies. In the twenty-first century, why should people have to tolerate this tiny yet very real element of risk? Though death by wild animal today strikes us as utterly unexpected, great beasts have prowled our campfires since the dawn of human consciousness. They were our talismans, our mentors, and our monsters. In that, they are a reminder of the ancient fear of falling prey, an awareness that has sculpted and directed the evolution of human intelligence throughout all time. The grizzly bear still presents this possibility: the power to radically alter our perception of the world around us. An encounter with our most dangerous of land mammals yet offers the quintessential American wildlife experience. In THE ESSENTIAL GRIZZLY, Doug and Andrea Peacock argue that the conservation of big, wild, sometimes dangerous animals is of absolute importance to modern humans, to the survival of our own species, and for rational thought. The emotional mindset behind reason is humility, a condition virtually guaranteed by a stroll through grizzly country, and a precursor to respect and tolerance for all other beings. Together, the authors delve into the complex dynamics thatcharacterize modern bonds between people and the great bear. They explore a wide range of human-grizzly encounters through interviews with biologists, mauling victims, hunters, and photographers who have had close contact with bears. To these they add unique portraits--sketches of real grizzlies from the viewpoint of the bear--drawn from Doug's extensive knowledge of bear behavior, considered by many people to be the most authoritative in the world. Filling a gap in the literature, The Essential Grizzly eclipses existing books on bear behavior, attacks, and how-to pamphlets, providing readers with a twenty-first-century context for revisiting the original shudder of "Homo sapiens"--the bear in the cave of our genesis--and finding a measure of familiarity and value there.
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