Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
On Grizzly People Movies and Letters from Charlie text
By Serena Zahler (05/06/10 16:51:06)
Related animal: Bear

When I originally watched "Walking with Giants" I personally thought Charlie was crazy. Going into a habitat that isn't inhabited by humans and living among wild bears, in order to show that they aren't dangerous. When I view this from an interspecies perspective, he is putting himself in a dangerous situation in order to help the bears when the bears wouldn't do that same for him. Bears look after them selves to survive, but Charlie the human is putting himself in harms way to show his species that bears are not dangerous. I guess the argument hear is that humans have a responsibility to advocate on behalf over other species because we have a conscience, but then do other animals have a responsibility to us to do the same? After reading Charlie's thoughts on Timothy Treadwell and "Grizzly Man," I gained a new respect for Charlie's motives. His background in ranching and move into bear advocate made sense and he had a healthy respect for the balance of nature and his own personal safety. I commend his honesty about Treadwell and I believe in his frustration that Timothy didn't keep a healthy sense of reality when he was with these animals. Charlie said he kept pepper spray and used an electric fence to keep himself and his things his. On the other end, Timothy believed him self to be a "kind warrior " for the bears and called them his friends. He spoke to them and had a boyhood obsession/lust when speaking about them. I feel at times his purpose was purely personal. It was interesting to me how the Native American believed Timothy was very disrespectful in his actions with the bears; Native American's don't fear bears, but respect their territory and the interspecies relationship. After this week and my immense gain of knowledge, I find myself still asking questions about the intentions behind Charlie and Timothy and if one is more justified than the other. Also, in the end Timothy did die a tragic death at the mercy of the bears he felt he was protecting, but are they protected or did his death create more danger for them?

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