Letters from Charlie...

Letters from Charlie...

July 22, 2004

These photos were taken in the middle of June. Volodia Gordienko watches over them as they play on the big chunks of snow caving into Char Creek as it opens up. They are from left to right Sky, Jeana, Sheena, Buck, and Wilder, crawling out of the water.

e cubs are no problem to look after on long walks out from our cabin.

(Click on any Image to see a higher resolution version)


Hi Patient Watchers of Cloudline.org,

I have been silent for over a month because until recently I have not had a satellite connection at the cabin at Kambalnoye Lake where I am with five orphaned cubs. As they always are, these cubs are wonderful individuals and great to be sharing my life with. I don't know what the maximum number would be to do this with, but five is fine and they act like one big happy family. Perhaps the limiting factor is the number that is possible to den together. They have been practicing that already by digging a hole in their yard, which would almost do for all five. They represent two families, one from far north and one from near Petropavlovsk, but they all sleep in a big pie and they keep track of each other when we go on walks. The large number of them adds lots of interest for us because there is always something going on, someone is perpetually creating interesting turmoil. On our walks, when we run into strong, fresh smells of other bears, or see one, they crowd around our feet and if you are not careful, you stumble over them. Normally, they run ahead and then back to us again. Running on the hard snow they can get several hundred meters away before they turn around. They are obviously enjoying life immensely. Knowing how they are so capable of joy and how quickly they are able to put the terrible months they have spent in close confinement aside, it is almost impossible for me to turn down the opportunity to give them a chance to have their wonderful wild life back again.

Feeding and caring for them is a big job. They eat a lot and they defecate a lot in their big, open, electrified pen. This would attract flies if we did not go out and collect it among the two groves of enclosed alders and the rest of the yard, once a day. They demand to be shown the world.

Reno Sommerhalder from Canmore, Alberta is now here helping me. For the first month, Volodia Gordienko was my assistant. Volodia is the husband of Tatiana who has worked with us for many years in Russia and Volodia has been the person who has operated the ranger program which the project funded the past six years. He is a hunting guide, but now I would be surprised if his life is not changed forever regarding how he thinks about bears. It was great to see how they won his heart and how concerned he became about their well being.

With luck these cubs are the ones who will be the older bears in the film that I hope will be shot here in 2006-07. They will take the place of the ones who should have still been alive, but are not. Volodia and I spent a lot of time talking about what we will do to make sure that does not happen again. He wants to create the next protection fund and I will find a way to help him fund it. I am optimistic that we will be able to establish something quite secure for these cubs and the three additional orphans of the spring of 2006. The film could be the impetus that gives at least 8 cubs another chance at being wild. Volodia and I also hope to establish a permeate rehabilitating center here to operate for as long as it is needed.

I hope we can find some Russians to do this because I don't want to live the rest of my life here. As it is I am fighting off becoming bushed. I have been working with bears, in the wilderness, spring, summer and fall for 15 years and will spend at least three more years here before I finish this task which I set out to do. I came here to try to change the way people think about bears. If and when the film is seen I will then decide whether I have made a significant difference in human/bear culture around the world.

Thanks for waiting,


© Pacific Rim Grizzly Bear Co-Existence Study, 2004