AR-News: (WA) The vanishing bears: Economics vs. nature in Russian wild

Animalara2003 at aol.com Animalara2003 at aol.com
Thu Nov 27 05:29:38 EST 2003





By Kim Murphy
Los Angeles Times

SERGEI L. LOIKO / LOS ANGELES TIMES
Koryaksky volcano towers over the city of Petropavlovsk on the Kamchatka 
Peninsula, where wildlife authorities wrestle with the pervasive poaching industry.



KAMCHATKA PENINSULA, Russia — Charlie Russell closed up his cabin at 
Kambalnoye Lake, on the remote tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia's Far East, 
and said goodbye for the winter to the bears he had studied for seven years. 
There were 20 in all. Among them: Brandy, who often left her three cubs with 
Russell for baby-sitting while she went fishing. Walnut, a young male. 
Biscuit, whom Russell had raised as a cub and who, pregnant with her own offspring, 
would sometimes come bounding to greet him when he landed his plane, brushing 
against his leg or nibbling his boot. 
Russell left last November for his home in Canada, confident the bears soon 
would be safe in their snow-shrouded slumber. He returned, as usual, in spring. 
But instead of finding Biscuit emerging with blinking cubs from her den, all 
he found was stillness. 
Biscuit did not appear. Nor did Walnut or Brandy or any of the bears. Russell 
searched for two months without finding a trace of any of them. What he did 
find, when he opened his cabin, was a bear's gallbladder, hung from a nail on 
the wall. 
What had happened during those weeks before impenetrable drifts of snow 
settled over the valley, before the bears would have lumbered off to the safety of 
their dens? Who left the gruesome artifact on the wall, and was it an 
oversight or a message? And the question that haunts Russell most of all: Did Biscuit 
walk up to greet her killers? 
Russell left last November for his home in Canada, confident the bears soon 
would be safe in their snow-shrouded slumber. He returned, as usual, in spring. 
But instead of finding Biscuit emerging with blinking cubs from her den, all 
he found was stillness. 
Biscuit did not appear. Nor did Walnut or Brandy or any of the bears. Russell 
searched for two months without finding a trace of any of them. What he did 
find, when he opened his cabin, was a bear's gallbladder, hung from a nail on 
the wall. 



full story:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2001802217_bears27.html

"The greatness of a nation and it's moral progress can be judged by the way 
it's animals are treated." ...Mahatma Gandhi
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