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,