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Know the West

Treadwell was no new-ager

  The deaths of Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard, ostensibly by grizzly mauling, were the stuff of sensational headlines, especially on the heels of the mauling of tiger-trainer Roy Horn in Las Vegas. It was predictable that the mainstream, corporate media would have a field day.

We expected better of High Country News. We were disappointed.

Mark Matthews’ Writers on the Range column (HCN, 11/10/03: A grizzly attack that was bound to happen) provided no mention of the positives in Treadwell’s work. Matthews condemns Treadwell, describing him as some superficial caricature of a man, comparing his behavior to that of the narcissistic dudes and dudettes on reality shows. This is highly inaccurate.

Treadwell for years championed the preservation of large mammals, their habitats and the wildlife corridors they require. Through personal appearances and slide shows, television documentaries, and through his book, Living With Grizzlies, Treadwell shared the magnificent browns with the world.

In Living With Grizzlies, Treadwell emphasized prudence, common sense and a reasoned approach defined by the animals themselves. We came away from reading Treadwell’s book with no message to behave irresponsibly around grizzlies or any other wild animal. What we did come away with was the story of one man’s love for a wild species and his efforts to educate humans to the miracle they represent — without the prejudice reflected by the media in the reporting of Treadwell’s death.

Nancy Jacques,
Durango, Colorado

Kathleene Parker,
Los Alamos, New Mexico