Outdoor writer and bear expert Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend were killed and eaten by a grizzly bear in Alaska's Katmai National Park. Apparently the attack was accidentally tape recorded.
Craig Medred, the Anchorage Daily News outdoor writer covered the story in yesterday's issue ("Wildlife author killed, eaten by bears he loved"):
"A California author and filmmaker who became famous for trekking to Alaska's remote Katmai coast to commune with brown bears has fallen victim to the teeth and claws of the wild animals he loved.
"Alaska State Troopers and National Park Service officials said Timothy Treadwell, 46, and girlfriend Amie Huguenard, 37, were killed and partially eaten by a bear or bears near Kaflia Bay, about 300 miles southwest of Anchorage, earlier this week.
"Scientists who study Alaska brown bears said they had been warning Treadwell for years that he needed to be more careful around the huge and powerful coastal twin of the grizzly.
"Treadwell's films of close-up encounters with giant bears brought him a bounty of national media attention. The fearless former drug addict from Malibu, Calif. -- who routinely eased up close to bears to chant "I love you'' in a high-pitched, sing-song voice -- was the subject of a show on the Discovery Channel and a report on "Dateline NBC." Blond, good-looking and charismatic, he appeared for interviews on David Letterman's show and "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" to talk about his bears. He even gave them names: Booble, Aunt Melissa, Mr. Chocolate, Freckles and Molly, among others.
"A self-proclaimed eco-warrior, he attracted something of a cult following too. 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.
" "He kept insisting that he wanted to show that bears in thick brush aren't dangerous. The last two people killed (by bears) in Glacier National Park went off the trail into the brush. They said their goal was to find a grizzly bear so they could 'do a Timothy.' We have a trail of dead people and dead bears because of this trend that says, 'Let's show it's not dangerous.' ''
"But even Treadwell knew that getting close with brown bears in thick cover was indeed dangerous..."
and today's ("Treadwell: 'Get out here. I'm getting killed'"):
"Among the last words Timothy Treadwell uttered to his girlfriend before a bear killed and partially ate both of them were these:
" "Get out here. I'm getting killed.''
"Words caught on a tape recording of the attack also reveal Treadwell's girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, shouting at him to play dead, then encouraging him to fight back.
"Alaska State Troopers report that is what they heard on a videotape recovered Monday at the scene of a bear mauling in Katmai National Park and Preserve. The tape was in a camera found near the bear-buried remains of Treadwell, 46, and Huguenard, 37.
"Troopers spokesman Greg Wilkinson said there are no pictures on the tape, leading troopers to believe the attack might have happened while the camera was stuffed in a duffle bag or during the dark of night. Treadwell had talked to an associate in Malibu, Calif., by satellite phone around noon Sunday. He mentioned no problems with any bears.
"The remains of the Southern Californians who periodically came to Alaska to live intimately with the bears were found the next day. A large but scrawny old bear with bad teeth that a pilot had seen sitting on the brush and dirt pulled over the bodies was shot and killed by National Park Service rangers at the scene after it charged them..."