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Famous Bears – Jeanie

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Famous Bears – Jeanie

Post  WMTravellers on Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:36 pm

You may remember Jeanie from the BBC’s ‘Big Bear Week’… She was a resident black bear on the Whistler ski slopes, Canada. She had lived there for about 20 years.

In late August 2011 we visited Whistler, we had booked a guided bear viewing tour with Michael Allen, the guide that worked with the BBC.

We were privileged enough to see Jeanie up close and personal along with her cub on the tour and again the following day we spotted her from a gondola. She was a really lovely bear that had successfully raised many cubs and was happy to tolerate humans in her territory.

Jeanie was a popular bear with locals and tourists alike, she taught people how bears and humans could live side by side peacefully.

Sadly two months after our visit, on 20th October Jeanie was killed. She was classed as a problem bear, she had grown too keen a ‘taste’ for restaurant food. The town of Whistler has a no tolerance rule, where every bear, no matter how placid or famous, are killed if they enter a property.
Fortunately Jeanie’s cub, Jeanette was ‘rescued’ and spent that winter at Critter Care Wildlife Society before she was released back into the wild near Elaho in June 2012.

You can read more about Jeanie on the get Bear Smart society’s page here:

http://www.bearsmart.com/Jeanie

We didn't get any decent pictures of Jeanie, only a misty morning silhouette, but I did manage some shaky video of her (she was a good distance from us and I didn't have a tripod with us)… but it shows what a loving fun mum she was to her cub.



I know you’re not planning on opening a restaurant, but I found this video featuring Jeanie really interesting! And yes, I cried at the end!

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Re: Famous Bears – Jeanie

Post  whitestarling on Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:50 am

What a really sad ending for Jeanie Sad . I missed that series don't know why I don't miss many wildlife documentaries. It reminds me of Lilly, who was the subject of Dr Rogers research into Black Bears in America, I don't know if you heard about that or seen any of his work. He spent many years researching them, and managed to build that good a relationship with them he could put collars on them with out anethatising them. His research was controversial in that he got to know them by feeding them, and walking with them. The town was split about it with half welcoming the Bears, and feeding them, the other half against because of the Bears loosing their natural fear of humans, and concerns about visiting children. Gorden Buchanan did two documentaries on him, the first featuring Lilly, the second which was on not long ago on the BBC showed the problems of the research, and that Dr Rogers licences were withdrawn. The Story of Lilly, and her first born Cub are on here http://wildaboutanimals.forumotion.net/t86-lily-and-hope-the-black-bear-and-cub

WS

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Re: Famous Bears – Jeanie

Post  WMTravellers on Fri Sep 05, 2014 7:24 am

Hi WS, it is a very sad story Sad

She was featured on Big Bear Week back in 2006, it was hosted by Saba & Jonathan from Big Cat Diaries. They along with Jeff Turner followed brown, black and polar bears for a week.

Jonathon did his recording in Katmai National Park (in the next bay to where I visited in 2008), Saba did her recording in Canada's Hudson Bay out of Churchill (been there too Wink ) and Jeff did his recording of the black bears on the Whistler ski slopes.



Yes I know Lilly's story, I have mixed emotions about that one... I do not agree with feeding wild animals unless you can maintain that food source (like feeding garden birds)... the big problem with teaching these bears 'humans feed you and can be trusted' is during the hunting season we can't be trusted! Hunters use the same nuts to bait them to their hunting stands to shoot them. It's very sad. Study them yes, teach people not to fear them yes, but don't feed a bear and then get it to trust all humans. The project has attracted the wrong kind of attention and effectively put a price tag on their heads.

The hunting season started again on Monday... I was thinking about posting the links to the progress of the bears but it's way too depressing! Maybe I'll wait until the hunting season is over and then post about the lucky survivors.
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Re: Famous Bears – Jeanie

Post  whitestarling on Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:04 pm

Thanks for the Video Liz, shame I missed that. Have'nt seen Saba for a while now, by coincidence Lai, and her husband are friends of Jonathan, and Angie, they have been on Safari with them a few times. I agree that Dr Rogers, and Lilly were really a victim of their own media success, so much so that in the last programme Buchanan made he spent the whole of the last season trying to protect Lilly against the hunters who had targeted her, and even put a bounty on her head, because of her fame. Thankfully he managed to keep her safe, and hopefully by now she will find pastures new. On the plus side we have learnt so much more about Black Bears, and he has raised the profile of them in peoples minds. It was amazing to follow Lillys life giving birth as a first time mum to hope, her abandonment of Hope when her hormones went wrong, and she started looking to mate. Then her return after so long, and were reunited followed by the birth of Faith, and Jason next, and Hope looking after them, before sadly being shot. I think a lot has been learned from Dr Rogers study, stuff that we may never have known, but for the cams in front of the dens showing her giving birth, and how they look after the cubs ect. At the end of the day though there does have to be a balance between studying wildlife, and interfering or affecting with the their natural way of life. Sadly nature is better than humans at balancing wildlife issues than humans.

WS

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