Reflection: Interspecies Communication
In Response to Charlie Russell's response to the death of Timothy Treadwell
By Danielle Terhune (05/10/10 17:35:37)
Related animal: Bear

“I had asked (Timothy) the question – “why would you not take the precautions that we both knew would work?” He angrily told me that he was essentially a trespasser in their territory and therefore he did not want to hurt them in any way. In answer to this I confronted him with the possibility that his death could undo everything that he and others were trying to change in people’s attitude towards bears.”
When I watched Herzog’s “Grizzly Man” I felt much the same way. Why would Treadwell go to all the trouble and put years of his life into showing the world the “humane” side of Grizzlies, when if one killed him, would make make all of his work for nothing. It is a sad thing that Treadwell died the way that he did, but I really can’t imagine him dying any other way. It is a sad thing, but understandable. I think Russell has every right to use pepper spray and electric fences, because it keeps not only himself safe but also the validity of his research safe. People use pepper spray on other people for protection. There is nothing wrong with essentially harmless protection as a deterrent against unwanted engagements.

“If Timothy had spent those thirteen years killing bears and guiding others to do the same, eventually being killed by one, he would have been remembered in Alaska with great admiration. That story would have meant nothing to Herzog because there would have been no lines crossed what-so-ever.”
I think that Russell brings up another valid point, it is amazing that Timothy lasted as long as he did unharmed and that if he had been on the opposite side of the spectrum killing bears instead of loving on them, he would have essentially remained nameless and uninteresting to the general public. Herzog does make Treadwell seem crazy, and my own personal view of Treadwell being uneducated in the field and therefore unqualified to work with bears at such a close proximity leads me to feel really no pity on his death. He could have taken precautions, but didn’t. His aspirations got much too big for his abilities and when his end came his story was prime for the taking by Herzog. I do not like how Herzog made a mockery of everyone he interviewed and the way in which he constantly portrayed Treadwell as a nut case, but I feel Treadwell and his associates did make it all to easy for Herzog to take advantage of everything Treadwell stood for.

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