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Jewish World Review
May 2, 2008
/ 27 Nissan 5768
That's Why They're Called WILD Animals
You might have read or heard about that recent story of the grizzly bear that killed a 39-year-old trainer with a bite to his neck. This particular grizzly appeared in the movie, "Semi-Pro" in which Will Ferrell's character wrestles a bear to promote his basketball team. Three experienced handlers were working with the bear at Randy Miller's Predators in Action facility when the bear bit Stephan Miller on the neck, said San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Beavers. Stephan Miller is Randy's cousin.
The center's staff used pepper spray to subdue and contain the bear and there were no other injuries, she said. A county Fire Department traumatic injury response unit responded about 3 p.m., but could not revive Miller. The center, located in the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles, says it has two grizzlies, and also trains lions, tigers, leopards, cougars and wolves for uses ranging from film and TV to advertising and education.
Sheriff's Sgt. Dave Phelps said the bear was a 5-year-old male named Rocky. The Predators in Action Web site says Rocky is 7 1/2 feet tall and weighs 700 pounds. Randy Miller doubled for Ferrell in the bear wrestling match, according to the center's site. In a February interview, Randy Miller called Rocky "the best working bear in the business," the San Bernardino Sun reported on its Web site Tuesday. In what seems now an eerie premonition, Randy Miller also said in the same article, "If one of these animals gets a hold of your throat, you're finished."
No word as of this writing on what will be done with the bear. He may very well be destroyed. Or maybe he'll just be kept caged in confinement for the rest of his life. So here we go again! People messing around with wild animals and getting themselves killed. Sorry if I come off sounding callous, but it's not the bear's fault that the guy is dead. The bear is just a bear. The man is supposed to be the more intelligent of the two, right? Wild animals should be left alone. Period.
This is just the latest example of the same old story - people getting into the faces of wild beasts that have the potential to kill. Remember when "crocodile hunter" Steve Irwin was killed fooling around a stingray back in 2006? Who was to blame for that - the stingray? He had no right getting that close to it. It was his fault. But no, the media made it into this horrible tragic accident, as if the guy was walking down a street minding his own business and a stingray jumped out of a window and killed him.
Then in 2005 two chimpanzees escaped from their cages and viciously attacked a visitor at an animal sanctuary. The chimps chewed off St. James Davis' nose and severely mauled his genitals and limbs before the son-in-law of the sanctuary's owner shot the animals to death. Davis and his wife, who was also bitten, had gone to there to celebrate the birthday of another chimpanzee that had lived with them for decades before they were forced to give the animal up. The chimpanzee was taken from their Los Angeles home in 1999 after biting off part of a woman's finger. The two attacking chimps obviously thought the people were there to do them harm. Chimps can be extremely dangerous creatures.
And don't forget the October 2003 story of Timothy Treadwell, who along with his girl friend, were killed and partially eaten by a bear or bears near Kaflia Bay, about 300 miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska. Treadwell was a former drug addict, author and filmmaker from Malibu who became famous for trekking to Alaska's remote Katmai coast to commune with brown bears. He loved to ease up close to bears and whisper "I love you" in their ears. If his goal was to "become at one with" the bears, he finally succeeded.
A self-proclaimed eco-warrior, Treadwell made appearances on television talk shows and attracted something of a cult following. Chuck Bartlebaugh of "Be Bear Aware,'' a national bear awareness campaign, called Treadwell one of the leaders of a group of people engaged in "a trend to promote getting close to bears to show they were not dangerous. Not dangerous, that is, until they eat you.
I know I keep repeating myself here, but I really wish these people would leave animals in the wild alone. Don't try to be their friends. Don't bring them into our "civilization." Don't attempt to communicate with them. Just leave them the hell alone. Believe me that would make everybody, especially the animals, much happier.
And as far as animals acting in the movies are concerned, with all the special effects, sophisticated process shots, and computer generated images that can be done today, there really is no reason to use wild animals at all any more in television and film productions. Wise up. Deal with your own species, people, and let the other creatures on this planet be. That way no one will get hurt.
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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.
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