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Successful Bear Advocacy Through Positive Educational Outreach
From Brenden Garrett - 5 Mar 2008

Hi, I have been a bit slow to going over my whopping stuffed inbox, and it's taken a long time getting to things, however, I just really noticed this message here below that my good friend Paul sent me, and if this message is accurate, I must say, this sounds like wonderful news!

Okay... I remember a few months back there was a valiant effort to get a lot of us together on fighting this issue and petitioning and everything to make this happen... Then it seemed things fizzled out and I stopped hearing from anyone anymore... So did some of us back together without me knowing and pull it off? Great job if so!!! I can't believe all this happened without me even knowing it... Have I been left out in the cold? But anyway you guys let me know what you're all up to... I want to definitely keep in touch on these issues and not fall out of the loop...

Brenden Garrett

Forwarded message from Paul:

This is so HUGE!!

Hi everyone, I have been trying to confirm this story for about five-six hours. I have saved as many addresses as I could, that have cared, and helped bears for alerting you to either something really horrible, or something extremely great (which never seems to happen) about news for the bears of the world.

Tonight it's the latter.


The voices for bears is ROARING. May this news story remind all of us to not NOT take any crap in putting a stop to the evil against the bear, anywhere. I could not ever have imagined this outcome for the McNeil River Game Sanctuary, Alaska Bears.

PLEASE keep in touch and thank you for your care for the BEAR. I truly hope that you all are doing very well, and then some...

Paul Larson

Close Call For Alaska's Famous Bears
McNeil River Game Sanctuary, Alaska

(CBS) The McNeil River falls on the Alaska Peninsula, where each summer scores of massive brown bears gather to feast on migrating salmon.

It is the greatest concentration of these huge creatures anywhere in the world — sometimes 30 bears gather at a time — and the world's best viewing spot for the hundreds of visitors, drawn by lottery, who come each year to witness the spectacle. CBS News correspondent Jerry Bowen reports.

"Words can't even describe what we're seeing here today, it's just unbelievable,” says one visitor.

The McNeil River runs through a state game sanctuary, which means the bears are safe here. They can't be hunted by humans, only viewed. It’s been that way for more than 30 years.

And it's a mutually beneficial encounter. The bears get their fish. The visitors get an eyeful, and both survive to tell the story.

And that is why tens of thousands of bear lovers around the world were shocked that State of Alaska game managers planned to make it easer for trophy hunters to kill some of these very same bears.

Protective no-hunting buffer zones on the edge of the sanctuary were to be opened to big game guides and their clients starting this July. Critics said the far ranging people-tolerant bears from McNeil would be easy pickings.

"These bears come up to you and lay down and nurse their cubs and take naps,” says Ken Day, a float plane tour operator. ”They feel protected by you .. the way we describe it is like shooting your neighbors' dogs. It’s heartbreaking."

This past week Alaska’s board of game got an ear- and eyeful: 10,000 letters and petitions from bear lovers. And this question: with 35,000 brown bears roaming all over Alaska, why jeopardize the 100 or so that call McNeil River home?

"McNeil River bears are the pride of the entire state,” says Dorothy Keeler of Alaska Wildlife Alliance. “It's the crown jewel of the wildlife viewing experience in the state."

In the end, the board turned bearish and reversed its decision.

Come this summer, those hungry giants will feast in safety at McNeil, and beyond the sanctuary borders.
And awe-struck visitors will still come loaded for bears — with cameras. Knowing the creatures they see will most likely be back at McNeil for generations to come.

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