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Treadwell Mauling

This post has been carried over from our forum which has since been removed from the site. We’ve pulled over the top 10 forum conversations that were not specific to future content areas which we will be posting.

Just wondering what everyone thought of this guy and the incident? For those who may be unaware Timothy Treadwell was the guy who spent time in Alaska with the bears. He never brought or possessed any type of weapons or sprays nor did he build fires. He was mauled to death, along with his girlfriend, by one of the bears he claimed to be “one” with.

Doc Wild
Found this thread in the attic and thought I would dust it off and see if it had any life in it.

I don’t want to spoil the upcoming Doc Wild article on bear attack facts, in our May issue, but I find this topic irresistible.

About seven years ago, I was involved in a bear attack study that really opened a few doors to be able to look into incidents like this.

grizzly behind tim treadwell

Grizzly displays stalking movement behind Timothy Treadwell

The first question that ran through my mind was if the bear had fed or not after the mauling. It can, initially, be a challenge to put together the events of an attack based on what animal had done the act. If anyone had seen the images of the alleged Alaska bear mauling that hit the net (sorry I don’t have a link to it, it was very graphic) of the bear that could look in a second story window and was supposedly killed by a Wildlife official. Well, there was an accompanying picture of an allegedly mauled male that was with that image that was completely bogus.

If you studied the picture a bit you would see that the remains were far and away too well intact to have been the work of the animal with a paw pad the size of the one that supposedly did the attack. As well, the vegetation was not that of Alaska. It appeared more tropic. I would venture it to actually be the work of hogs.

Additionally, when bears feed on human or animal, the area of “first” choice is almost without fail the soft internal organ area. The image of the victim remains was clearly not arranged this way.

In studying bear attacks, it was frequently noted that Black Bears tend to feed immediately where grizzly seem to return or wait. In many cases never do feed. This allows you to rationalize that if attacked by a Black Bear, a fight for life may need to happen, where most grizzly attack victims have avoided disassembly by either laying perfectly still or going unconscious.

I was informed that the animal in this Treadwell Mauling, did in fact begin to feed. It was not determined at what point and as I was saying, with the massive size of these animals and the ferocity of the incident, it can often be hard to tell.

This feeding or no-feeding issue can be key information in preparing people on how to respond to a bear attack incident.

Treadwell makes friends with fox

Bear browses in background as Treadwell pets a wild fox

Treadwell pushed the boundary way too far. If you had ever seen any of his episodes, you’d know what I mean. These animals are unpredictable and no matter how well you think you know them as a species or even as individuals, when you look into the eyes of a living attack victim, you see the resulting potential of their explosive nature.

How does this stack up to what you know and have been taught? Any thoughts?

Well its been nearly a year since the initial post but my thoughts toward Treadwell in particular havent changed. He entered the grizzly maze and paid the ultimate price but, so did the bears. He broke the buffer laws set forth by Park Service and helped record a documentary for the Discovery channel but it turned into more of an epitaph. I mean in my opinion, which is derived like eveyone elses, from documentation and media, this was someone who was self-proclaimed to be ‘one’ with the bears. He should have known the basic means for survival right? Yet it is “reported on numerous occassions” that the audio from the attack has Treadwell screaming to his girlfriend to fight back against the bear with a frying pan. It may not have mattered either way but for someone living with grizzlies one would think he, and those around him, would be aware that fighting a grizzly isnt your best option during an attack.

According to the show he went into grizzly country with no previous experience but as a drifter that held many different jobs, (bartender, failed actor, etc.), none of which he kept for any period of time, before launching this Grizzly Friends program. In the end he died, his girlfriend died, and the bears died.

It was noted that residents werent very happy or surprised when he was killed. Most also had little remorse except for the bears. They fear the close proximity he pushed with the bears has imprinted the habituation between humans and themselves which could relate into more problems and the destruction of more bears.

Everyone has that spirit now and then to live the life of Grizzly Adams including myself. I have had black bears in my windows here since I moved to my cabin. I enjoy watching them but I also know that ‘watching’ could turn into trouble very quickly so I ‘am’ prepared to fight back if needed with whatever I have at my disposal. I really dont want to shoot one of these bears. I’m in awe of their presence but also respect that theyre wild animals. Although I am in close proximity to many of these bears you wouldnt catch me playing Timothy Treadwell and crawling around on all fours down a well worn bear trail.

Doc Wild
Bears attack for one of four basic reasons, in most cases.
1) Defense or protection of young.
2) Defense or protection of a food source.
3) Because they have been surprised.
4) A person has been identified as a threat (e.g. blocking an escape route) or as a possible food source.

Now likely in this case we can rule out protection of young, as the animal with stomach contents containing Treadwell remains was a male. Protection of a food source is likely not the case either as the camp was established before the attack, however could have been the result of a bear recently returning to a traditional spot that it identified as it’s own.

Surprise could also be a factor if he tried to haze the bear away in the night. But I am leaning toward it identifying Treadwell as a food source. Especially when it began feeding on the remains almost immediately as was noted by the Bush-Pilot that saw the animal laying on the body feeding the next morning.

Officials were charged by a large yet old Male upon arrival at the scene. This bear was dispatched immediately (i.e. protection of another food source). Then a smaller sub-adult was dispatched just before the officials departed the scene. They returned two days later to perform a necropsy on both animals only to find that the sub-adult had been cannibalized, with the exception of its head.

You be the judge. Was “Mr. One-with-bears” attacked due to a surprise encounter? Was Treadwell camping in the bears old favorite fishing spot, or did he suddenly go from friend to food source? Three minutes of audio tape indicate that this attack did not move along swiftly. That is a lot more information than we have been left with in any other case.

The Grizzly Man will debut on the Discovery Channel this Friday at 8 pm eastern time. From the previews it looks to have some interesting footage and, a lot of commentary, both positive and negative, regarding Treadwells impact on the bears.

YouTube Excerpt of Timothy Treadwell from the movie Grizzly Man

Just got done watching “some” of the grizzly man.

That boy wasn’t all there. Some where in his life he made the split from reality and got confused in his purpose. He didn’t deserve what he got but he shouldn’t have been doing what he was doing. Somebody should have stopped him and got him some help.

Some of the footage of bears was interesting in some small way but I was disappointed with it. I couldn’t take it any longer and shut it off. I made it as far as him sitting in his tent and hoping for rain.

The most sensible thing I heard in this movie, what I watched of it, was the guy at the museum, where somebody stole a bear paw, stating that Treadwell crossed that invisible line and actually did more harm to the bears than good by habituating them to humans. For many years people stayed clear of bears and bears stayed clear of people.

I guess I was expecting some serious scientific study of bears or a Marty Stouffer Wild America thing. Sad to say, it was neither.

I must give the man credit on one issue. Although he was not all there, he did live out his life in a freedom I can only envy. Nature is cruel, he saw it but wouldn’t accept it.

Doc Wild
I could go on and on about Treadwell and his “work”. His actions were extreme and his demise was predictable. It may sound cold, but if you play in traffic long enough, your bound to get hit.
I have looked in the eyes of too many people with lifelong scars, missing limbs and destroyed lives resulting from Bear attacks that were not provoking the animals or placing themselves in the direct line of fire intentionally to feel any remorse over this incident.

tim treadwell amie huguenard

Tim Treadwell with girlfriend Amy Huguenard

I watched alittle of it last night and just could not get into it. A few things that I found to be interesting was about poaching. In the 13 yrs that he was up there, not one bear was poached. The year after he was killed, 6 bears were killed. The other thing was he knew the bear that eventualy killed him. He even had the bear on film and knew that bear was one to watch out for.

His friends called him a rock star and he did act like one.

He was truely a ‘disturbed’ man and I agree that he should have been found some help. Quite a way to live your life I will admit. There was some breathtaking scenery in parts of that film. Interesting…. but aggravating at the same time, you just wanted to shake the man.

Well my daughter and I just watched the entire video from beginning to end. She, like myself, is fascinated with bears of all types so it peaked our interest enough and I thought it deserved a complete viewing.

Personally I understand his fascination and anyone who has been in the presence of a wild bear will also understand the adrenaline rush that goes with the event. Face to face brings that level even higher.

Touching the bears or trying to touch them is something he should have realized was not a good idea. I mean take Jane Goodall studying gorillas for instance. Although she became enveloped in their structure she didnt push herself into the situation like Treadwell did. He intruded on the bears domain in a manner that I would consider reckless in many scenes. He obviously was out of place and I think even if someone tried to intervene it probably would have been of little matter in this instance.

Treadwell stated many times that if this was how he would die then so be it. Hard to tell a man differently when he really believes in something as he obviously did. The main problem is the effect it has had on the bears. I would suggest that many of these same bears may approach fishermen or tourists now out of curiousity only to be shot for appearing to be agressive.

That’s an interesting comparison to Jane Goodall. Look at the diference between a scientific study and this man’s view of living with bears.

I missed it if they ever said anything about him having any real background in the study of animals of any type.

Again, what I saw of the show was more about the man than of the bears. What, if anything, was learned about bears? What did his story acomplish?

After I watched what I saw friday night, I remembered another show that Discovery had on a while ago about another man that was living with bears. Except this one was raising orphan cubs and returing them to the wild. If I remember right he was doing this in Siberia. He did live in the wild with the cubs and was teaching them the best he could. It was stated that not all of the cubs made it to adulthood but the guy had respest for the wild bears in the area and didn’t approach them like Treadwell did.

I watched this show also gamer. He understood the concept of keeping these cubs as wild as possible, so they could be reintroduced into the wild without humans.He wasnt playing “look..see what I can do” like Treadwell.

Out of curiousity who here would like to listen to the Treadwell audio recording of the actual attack?

Not I

I’ll pass on that.

Not me. I got once mauled by a tiger. Long story has to do with my job not stupidity. Never can’t get rid of the snarrling and screaming edged in my memory. Therefore I have no need to listen to another screaming and snarrling.

It’s the animals you know best that you can trust the lest. He deserves what he got, like I did back then, for not having some kind of defence on him. He paid the price, he asked for it.

Treadwell was an arrogant fool whose stupidity, at least in my opinion, has done more damage than good. A lot of people bought into his non-sense. I’m really surprised more people haven’t been nailed by bears because of his popularity with the bunny huggin’ crowd. I know this sounds bad, but anyone who thinks bears are cuddly ltttle balls of fur should listen to the tape it my save their life.

1 Comment

  1. trkytrack
    December 13, 2011    

    I watched the entire video and listened to the tape of his and his girlfriends death. I have to agree; he wasn’t playing with a full deck. It’s a pity he drug that girl along to her demise. He was an arrogant imbecile that, IMO, did more harm to the bears he came into contact with, than good. It was a no brainer as to what would eventually happen to him. Anyone that places themselves in a similar situation should expect the same results. It appears that the bear that killed both of them was in poor condition and viewed them as a food source. Tim knew this bear and knew it was dangerous.