As we left Bozeman, Montana, on our way to Yellowstone National Park, we passed by a huge sign advertising an up close and personal experience with Grizzly Bears.
Fred’s typical response of “Do you want to stop?” was met with silence. I had images of cages of bears behind bars and expensive admission prices; it really wasn’t my cup of tea, as I don’t like seeing wild animals in confinement. But he pulled in and just as he started talking to the woman at the entrance booth, my phone rang and I was consumed with a conversation with our daughter, so really missed his entire conversation, and before I knew it, we were in the lot, parked, and walking around.
Meet Jake and Maggie.
Somewhere between west Glacier and Bozeman, after becoming insatiated about Grizzlies, I picked up this book “In The Presence of Grizzlies” by Doug and Andrea Peacock, which is an excellent book about the world of Grizzlies. Thanks to these folks, (an excellent highly recommend book by the way) I’ve learned just how complicated the Human / Grizzliy world is, politically, environmentally, and financially.
Without writing an entire essay on the subject, let’s just assume that Bozeman Grizzly Encounter is a pretty reputable place where they rescue grizzly bears from very unfortunate circumstances. These bears cannot be turned back into the wild, without getting themselves shot, so I guess this is a good solution. The bears are on display for short periods of time, well fed, have a reasonable environment to hang out in, and seem to have good spirits. (Yes I believe these intelligent animals do indeed have spirits.) The place is purely educational, costing $7.00 each, which goes for care and food.
Although I could have stayed for hours and hours watching these guys interact, we only met Jake and Maggie, as the other bears came out on a rotational basis, and we needed to get on the road before it got too late.
I had another entire memory disk of photos of Jake and Maggie, actually standing up on hind legs, wrestling with each other, and displaying incredible bear posturing. That disk unfortunately became corrupted when the card reader got banged and fell out of the computer during transfer. At least I did switch cards while there, so Jake and Maggie still live on in my photo collection.