Bear Kinship

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Successful Bear Advocacy Through Positive Educational Outreach
From Jessica Teel - 18 Mar 2008

Steve spoke well to the fact that the best way to change people's minds about bears is to have people meet the bears. I am wondering if any tour operators in Katmai would be willing to offer free seats on their tours to the big players involved in sport hunting in Alaska? Has a public invitation ever been sent to Sarah Palin, board of game members, etc... to come on a day trip to Katmai? This seems like an easy way for commercial operators in Katmai to give back to the bears and get involved in activism on their behalf. If no tour operators are willing to do this, perhaps money could be raised by individuals to pay for a seat on a tour for Sarah Palin, etc...As Steve wrote, there is no better way to change a hunter's mind than have them walk with the bears in Katmai and get to know them as they really are.

I also wanted to share with folks our website, The goal of the website is to educate people about the true nature of bears, and I have written extensively about the bears as individuals.

It is also important to note that education, without a link to activism on behalf of bears, will not be very effective. Although thousands of tourists a year are educated about the true nature of bears by visiting Katmai National park, I see a vital link missing. There does not presently exist in place an educational piece telling Katmai visitors about the plight of bears, and directing people on how and where to help. This can be as simple as an educational brochure. To my knowledge, Brooks Falls has no such educational piece, nor do any of the commercial operators on the Katmai coast. Once again I offer up a brochure that we have designed to any tour operators, we can customize it to your business, or if you want to just use the copy, or some of the copy, we will be happy to provide you the text to use as you see fit.

I also have another question for Katmai operators. Given the press and outrage over the Katmai Preserve hunt, have any operators who do bear viewing in the preserve agreed to stop bear viewing there? It seems only ethical to me to cease bear viewing there, but I have not heard anyone discuss this issue.

Jessica Teel

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