Louisa Willcox talks to Casey Anderson, who raised a grizzly cub, Brutus, from a tiny baby to a 900 pound giant. Casey challenges us to think differently about our relationships with bears, who are a lot like us. Casey owns Grizzly Encounter, an educational facility that harbors grizzly bears, many of whom were rescued from dire conditions, or zoos that were closing down.
"With grizzly bears particularly it was just really apparent from the get-go, when I was 18 years old, that there was more from them. You can see them thinking. They have such distinct individual personalities. And that was something about being around bears and raising them that was really fascinating to me, because they were such characters."
"People who come to wildlife parks, they want to see little baby bears and big adult bears, but they don’t want to see like awkward teenage bears. So the [parks] had a policy which is legal to this day with captive animals, of euthanizing cubs at the end of the year to keep the population the same. I realized I didn’t want to be a part of that world anymore. What triggered Montana Grizzly Encounter, the sanctuary that we started, was this little bear Brutus, who’s the little cub that was going to be euthanized. There’s no way I could have let it happen, because he just had this innate charm and charisma that was just bigger than anything I’ve ever seen."
"Brutus has taught me so much. He continues to. He’s 14 and in those 14 years he’s changed and evolved -- and he’s allowed me to evolve and perceive things in such a different way. …Brutus has shown me who he is and who grizzly bears are, and who wild animals can be, and the value of that. And it’s really the fuel, the passion that drives me to tell stories, to share this story that he’s telling me with the rest of the world. And I really believe that animals would have a place out in the wild if people knew who they were -- and realized how much depth and emotion and thought and intelligence and individual personalities for a lack of better term, that these animals have."
"The more that we dig into the inside of these animals and find the depths of who they are, I think that we’ll change the way we make our decisions when we are talking about conservation or coexistence and how were going to move forward."
"Being able to go out there and see a bear and understand it, and take a picture and turn and walk away, and let that bear share the landscape and live another day, that’s cool."
MORE INFORMATION ON CASEY AND BRUTUS
Casey's Book (his story about Brutus)
Video: Brutus, the Pet Grizzly Bear