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Know the West

Bart: Still a trooper

  Bart, the 1,500-pound star of The Bear and most recently The Edge (co-starring Anthony Hopkins), missed out on the Academy Awards a couple of weeks ago. But the 23-year-old actor and coastal Kodiak grizzly will be appearing this month on the small screen as spokesbear for Colorado State University's Animal Cancer Center's new research facility. According to Bart's trainer, Doug Seus, who appears in fund-raising spots alongside the bear, Bart was diagnosed with cancer in 1998 after Seus discovered a lump in the animal's wrist. The diagnosis was grim, but following surgery he has made a full recovery, and, barring a recurrence of cancer, may live to be 30. As a part of CSU's Paws for a Cause campaign, Bart joins "Stormin" Norman" Schwarzkopf and Colorado Gov. Bill Owens as an advocate for the Animal Cancer Center, the world's leading treatment facility for pets. Ultimately, Colorado State University hopes to build a 30,000-square-foot wing onto its existing teaching hospital in Fort Collins. The total cost is expected to run $9 million.

In a pair of spots - destined for the Animal Planet cable channel, which is run by Discovery, as well as for ABC, NBC and CBS - Bart and Seus laze in the grass. "Bart may be big and strong," says Seus as Bart playfully attempts to bite his head, "but he's also a cancer survivor ... Please help us continue to save lives."

Bart's understudy, a young grizzly named Tank, is six years old, about 8 feet tall and more than 800 pounds. With Bart doing just fine, Tank will continue to wait in the wings.

Donations to the Colorado State University Animal Cancer Center can be sent to P.O. Box 1870, Fort Collins, CO 80522-1870. For more information, call Linda, toll-free 877/427-8838. The Web site is www.cancercure.

Copyright © 2000 HCN and Dan Oko