Sunday, April 10, 2011

Book Review - The Story Of Brutus

With all the bear people I've introduced you to in this blog - from trainers to zookeepers to biologists to conservationists - it's truly criminal that I have not yet included Casey Anderson in that list, despite the fact that he is one of the top bear communicators in the world and has successfully raised a grizzly bear to be his best friend. What better way to correct that error than with a review of Casey's 2010 book The Story of Brutus.

Casey Anderson, now the host of National Geographic's Expedition Wild, met a young grizzly cub named Brutus in a wildlife preserve where Anderson had built a unique relationship with Brutus's father (which is detailed in the first chapter of the book). With the likelihood that Brutus would be euthanized due to overpopulation at the preserve, Anderson started the Montana Grizzly Encounter, a rescue and educational facility, for Brutus and other captive bears born into unfortunate situations. Seeking advice from Doug Seus, Casey learned firsthand how to interact with bears at a face-to-face level and Brutus has since become not only Casey's co-star on television but his right-hand man as well.

The book details many of Casey's childhood wildlife adventures, including early experiences with his father. The encounters related are stirring, thrilling, sometimes hair-raising, and always entertaining. Along the way, Casey refutes many misconceptions about bears, pleads a case for saving the grizzlies, and even attempts to teach Brutus to fish like a wild bear. Scattered throughout are amazing insights into his relationship with Brutus and how that relationship is maintained. Finally - and perhaps most remarkably for the bear enthusiast - Casey relates two accounts in which Brutus seems to shed actual tears of joy, an incredible look into the true emotional capability of these animals.

Overall the book is a great read and another valuable look into the heart and mind of an animal that is misunderstood by so many. Highly recommended and I can't wait for Casey's next literary outing.

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  1. Hey Chris! I love watching NatGeo in the morning before I go to bed and I've seen several episodes of Expedition Wild. It's really good stuff. Hope you're doing well!

  2. Good to hear from you, Joshua! It is a pretty great show. Things are going well for me. The zoo in Gulf Shores is interested in hiring me on as a keeper so I'm going down there this weekend to check things out. We'll see what happens.