Show some respect.

I watched an episode of "Grizzly Diaries" last night, a series broadcast on Animal Planet. It tells the stories that the late Timothy Treadwell wanted us all to hear and I am glad someone has finally put together the years of filming and commentary he created to show to the world in its intended context. For those that don't know, Treadwell A.K.A. "The Grizzly Man" spent many summers living in the Alaskan wilderness, in the Katmai area. He had devoted his life to observing and documenting the bears, foxes and other wild animals that lived there. Unfortunately, many in our society who have probably never left the urban jungle and wouldn't understand nature in any form have criticized this man, attacking him personally. They say he was crazy for living unprotected from nature, with the wild animals. Well who says we should protect ourselves from nature anyway? Aren't we PART of nature? Are the bears dangerous? ABSOLUTELY. Did Timothy know this? ABSOLUTELY. He knew what he was doing, and he loved that way of life, and he loved nature and the animals around him. But he also understood the risks. He knew that at any time he could pay with his life in exchange for experiencing things very few humans ever will. He also understood the rarity of what he was able to witness and took it upon himself to document it in detail, founding "Grizzly People" an organization dedicated to protecting the bears and their environment. When he was not in the wilderness, he spent a great deal of his time traveling to schools donating his time to teach children about the bears and other animals, how they interact, and how humans have impacted their way of life in the "Grizzly Maze". Sadly he died in 2003 when he and his partner, Amie Huguenard were attacked by a bear. Now, some say he "got what he deserved". How disrespectful can you be? He died doing what he loved! We all should be so lucky! No one attacked Steve Irwin personally, or called him crazy or anything else. Why is Timothy any different? They both brought new understanding of the animals they respectively observed. The part that I think a lot of people have a hard time with it that unlike Mr. Irwin, Treadwell went out in the wilderness unarmed, and usually alone for months at a time. He got to know individual animals and learned their mannerisms the same way we would with our pets. He talked to the animals, and yes, acted pretty goofy sometimes. But did anyone think to take this in context? I talk to my dog, does this make me crazy? No more so does it for Timothy to talk to "his" foxes... And as for his goofy behavior, a sure sign of mental problems? You have to remember he was filming, and "acting" in his own documentaries for the benefit of CHILDREN, not US. In context he wasn't any different than the guy who dressed up in a "Barney" costume everyday or any number of other silly things people do to entertain kids. Timothy wasn't perfect. In the "civilized" world he had contempt for certain aspects of society, and had had alcohol problems in the past. But the important part to remember, is he was passionate about what he did, loved nature, loved animals, and did everything he could to protect them and their environment. He put his life on the line to learn what he could, he found his own way, his own path, and for that I have the greatest respect for him. I encourage anyone to watch "Grizzly Diaries". You'll see some of the most incredible footage of wild animals at close range, and the antics of the foxes are hilarious.

Here is the Trailer for a documentary by Werner Herzog.

I'll get off my soapbox now.

1 comment:

Cherokee Dad said...

I did not realize he was such a young man but he is one who is blessed with wisdom many do not understand. Timothy Treadwell deserves everyones respect for what he has done to bring awareness of the animals in Alaska and in particulary the bears.