Home 1998 Annual Report



Report Year IV
The Kamchatka Brown Bear Project
Maureen Enns and Charles Russell

What we have learned from our study at Kambalnoe lake in 1998:
Can bears and people share the same land without conflict?

© Lenticular Productions Ltd.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction *
  2. Orphaned Cubs Program 1998 *
    1. Cubs Survived *
    2. Supplementary Feeding *
    3. Food from the Wild *
    4. Independence *
    5. Health of Cubs *
    6. Cubs Relationship with Other Bears *
    7. Cubs Relationship with People *
  3. Co-Existence Study *
    1. Use of the Human Voice to Diffuse Anxiety *
    2. Understanding the Capability of the Bear’s Memory *
    3. Electric Fencing *
    4. Pepper Spray *
  4. Conclusions *
  5. Goals For 1999 *
  6. Distribution of Research Results *
    1. Slide Lectures *
    2. Public Presentations *
    3. Sponsor’s Invitational Presentations *
    4. - 100 Mile House, British Columbia *
    5. Education *
    6. Web Site http://www.norquay.com/grizzlies: *
    7. CD ROM and Link to Active Web Site *
    8. Calgary Area Outdoor Council / Cloudline Environmental Foundation Partnership to Host Educational Event *
    9. Books in the Works *
  7. Media Coverage 1998 *
    1. Television *
    2. Radio *
    3. Newspaper/Magazine *
    4. Active Web Site *
  8. Exhibition Proposal: Through the Eyes of the Bear as Interpreted by Artist, Maureen Enns *
    1. Purpose of the Exhibition *
    2. How? *
    3. Availability *
    4. The Six Components (Modules): *
    5. Part 1 - Line Of Sight *
    6. Part 2 - Into Deep Water *
    7. Part 3 - Anthropomorhism *
    8. Part 4 - The Bear Who Looked For Beauty *
    9. Part 5 - Another Dimension *
    10. Part 6 - In Situ *
    11. Part 7 - Denning Site *
  9. Sponsorship: 1996-1998 *
    1. Corporate Donors *
    2. Individual Donors *
    3. Contributions In-Kind *
    4. Sponsoring Foundations *

Special thanks to Xerox Canada Limited for publishing this document and to Debbie and Tim McDonald for their formatting and layout!


We chose Kamchatka as an ideal place to do a study that would help people every where to co-exist with bears. Central to the success to the overall project was an experiment, in which cubs orphaned in their infancy were encouraged to develop the independence necessary to allow a successful return to the wild. Kambalnoe Lake was selected as a study area because it is still one of the last truly wild places remaining in the world and features a large population of brown bears which have had little or no contact with people. It was important that the bears of our study area be relatively innocent of human experience so they would have little reason to fear us. A large number of the bears within the vicinity of the lake were females with cubs. This afforded an opportunity to explore and test methods for dealing with close encounters between bears and us, including meeting with females and cubs at close quarters, a situation customarily considered as very dangerous. It is also an ideal site for reintroducing orphan cubs because of its remoteness, a place where the cubs could perhaps live out their lives without ever experiencing the nearest human settlement.

The goals of the study are as follows:

  1. To learn the techniques of reintroducing orphan cubs into the wild spaces of Kamchatka, where there are many other bears;
  2. To gain the insights necessary to permit peoples and bears to share the same land with less conflict;
  3. To better understand the bears nature so as not to aggravate them;
  4. To find out whether bears that trust people and are not afraid of them are safer bears; and
  5. To discover to what degree trust can be established between bears and people and how it can be sustained.

We feel that bears the world over will benefit from our study. In particular, the bears of North America and Europe where humans have encroached on most of the prime bear habitat and because of an unreasonable fear among humans there has been little effort to share habitat with this interesting mammal.

Much attention has already been drawn to Kamchatka and our project because of the interest in this study (Los Angeles Times, Sierra Club Magazine, Sun Microsystems’ active web site and our many sponsors). We pledge to strive towards meeting our objectives, resulting in a final product of which, both our Russian hosts and we can be proud.

Orphaned Cubs Program 1998

Cubs Survived

Kambalnoe Lake was still deep in snow when I, Charlie Russell, arrived on May 11, 1998 with Vitaly Nikaelenko and his interpreter. I had departed Kambalnoe cabin on December 3rd, 1997 after the cubs had denned for the winter. Although I was confident after a long winter, I was keen to verify that the cubs (now yearlings) had survived without a mother in the den. When we arrived at the cabin we were soon able to confirm that the yearlings had indeed survived. They had successfully hibernated and it appeared that they had been out of the den for quite some time, judging from how much their fur had bleached from the sun. Most of the bears that I had observed digging dens for hibernation in November 1997, had also emerged probably during what had been a warm, sunny April. By contrast, the first ten days of May, prior to our arrival, had been very snowy and had covered over den openings and obliterated tracks so I was once again unable to determine the actual den, even though I was quite sure of the general area of the site. (Note- From my observations the previous fall, I was convinced that they had chosen a site that was on a mountain slope over a ridge from our cabin that required a long steep climb to access. This meant that there was no place near the cabin from which the slope could be observed and this mountain side where I suspected the cubs had spent their winter, was covered with large areas of both alder and dwarf pine. The search was complicated because these types of terrain are difficult to penetrate on foot. Later, in June, when I brought my plane to Kambalnoe, I looked at that mountain side from the air, just prior to the leaves coming on to the alders and spotted three dens. One of these looked quite shallow as the angle of the sun allowed me to see into it but when I hiked the mountain side, I could not locate this den but did find the other two. One had not been used since the winter of 1995-96 and the other appeared to have been dug by a single large bear, as its claw marks on the walls of den gave evidence of the size the occupant. When I tried, once again to pin point the shallow den from the air, I could no longer see it, due to the new growth of alder leaves.)

Over the course of three days, I observed the yearlings eating a few pine nuts that they were digging from the tops of the pines that were still 30 to 60 cm beneath the surface of the fresh snow. This was slow work for them so they were not eating much. They spent long periods of time sitting on the steep mountainside, in a trance like manner, staring at the snow. It was as though they were still in a semi hibernating state that conserves energy until more food becomes available. Vitaly found where a spring cub had been killed and eaten by an adult bear near where our yearlings spent their nights. I decided to provide some supplementary food until the yearlings were able to secure more pine nuts so that they would have a better chance to avoid male bears.

Supplementary Feeding

Of all the issues that we dealt with regarding the reintroduction of three orphan cubs, the supplementary feeding questions caused us the most anxiety, perhaps only because the availability of human sourced food is often blamed for bear/human conflicts.

Obviously, very young orphan cubs can benefit from some supplementary food in the early spring of their second year, where winter and spring snow cover most available food supply at Kambalnoe Lake in May. We decided to continue to feed sunflower seeds because they are similar in nutritional value to pine nuts and they store well. Also we are able to get a Physosanitary certificate from the USA which allows us approval from the Department of Agriculture in Petropavlosk.

The questions that we were faced with were:

  1. How too supplemental feed so as to not elicit aggressive behavior;
  2. How long to continue the feeding; and,
  3. Whether feeding effects independence?

There had been no difficulty in feeding them during the first year and although we did not anticipate any problems the second, we experienced some anxiety because the popular belief is that there is no way to feed bears without causing them to become aggressive. Thus a lot of thought went into carrying out our feeding program. The yearlings were getting very large in 1998 and any problems with aggressiveness could be dangerous to us. On the other hand, we decided that the situation that presented itself afforded us an opportunity to see if supplementary feeding could be accomplished without causing undue problems. By feeding only in bowls, (never by hand) and by putting the seeds in the bowls when the cubs were not there, we were able to avoid all the problems usually associated with feeding bears. The orphans were never a danger to us or anyone else. As they grew stronger, we stopped feeding them and they immediately reverted to finding their own food. The yearlings may have been able to survive without the supplemental food but it obviously helped get them through a period of food stress in the spring.

Another consideration is that yearlings still with their natural mothers would have the benefit of milk and guidance from the female. The female could protect her offspring and take them many miles to sites where there was early spring vegetation to eat. It seemed remarkable that these cubs had all survived thus far as well as they had. To deny them some extra food because of our uncertainties at this time could have reduced survival chances.

At the beginning, I put 800 grams of sunflower seed per day in each of their bowls at a distance of one kilometer from the cabin. For two weeks in May, I put the food in their bowls in a different place and at different times of the day when they were not around and then let them find the seeds. As pine nuts became available, and we chose to stop feeding. The yearlings quickly excepted this change in program and switched to securing their own food without delay.

The cubs slowly used up their remaining fat reserve so that by the middle of July they were quite thin. Vitaly had thought that they might need supplementary food in October, prior to denning but we decided that late July was the best time to give them some additional seeds to help them until the salmon became available. There was evidence that there was going to be a large supply of salmon and pine nuts in October. Thus on July 16th we started feeding the orphans 1200 grams each per day for three weeks. The salmon arrived at Kambalnoe Lake on August 10th whereupon we ceased the feeding program, again with no discernable problem. The yearlings did not seem to mind at all the cessation in supplemental feeding.

We resumed the supplemental feeding for five days while Vitaly was at Kambalnoe in August. This was to keep the cubs away from him, as we were worried that he might inadvertently do something that would jeopardize our program. --[Vitaly tells everyone, and demonstrated to me, that he runs from bears as a technique for survival. We felt that this could have induced the orphans to playfully chase him, which was a behavior in them that we wanted to discourage for the purposes of our study. Also, there was word from Kronotsky that they were going to use rubber bullets on the yearlings to teach them to be afraid of people. Any behavior such as this would put an end to our work as these bears would then be just like any other bears in the world who are treated poorly by man and their trust in us would be broken].

Food from the Wild

During the seasons when fish were not available to the yearlings, they ate a great variety of plants such as sedge, thistle, young fern, Equisetum sp., Solomon seal, wild parsnip, angelica, rust alga, globe flower, bear plant and others. In our company, we observed the yearlings catching and eating many voles, which they would smell, underground and then dig them up. They also caught and ate young gulls before the birds could fly. In 1998 salamander eggs, attached to vegetation under water in many small lakes, were also a source of protein to the yearlings.

The yearlings gained weight quickly on an abundant salmon supply which they learned to catch almost as adroitly as adult bears do, perhaps because of their accelerated independence.

They also began to consume pine nuts; the orphans were in excellent condition by the time we left in the middle of September. There were still two months before denning and a great deal for them to eat.


As cubs they had demonstrated a lot of independence in 1997as they progressed toward hibernation, (which they achieved with no help from us). They became more dependent on each other and less so on us. As the months passed they spent several days at a stretch away from the cabin and supplementary food. In 1998, as their size and confidence grew, the yearlings became even more independent as they honed their skills at catching fish. Their home range grew substantially as well and by September 1998 they would disappear for up to a week at a time. I would see them from the air while flying, many kilometers away from the cabin, as they familiarized themselves with new terrain and the food it affords.

We got some "parental" satisfaction from noting that "our" bears were considerably more adept at fishing than their wild counterparts whose mothers still did most of the fish catching.

Health of Cubs

We saw no signs of ill health in the cubs over the two years they have been in our company. There was some evidence of a normal amount of roundworms and pinworms in their scats. We never saw any fleas on them. Although we fed them, we believe that they could have survived without the supplementary feeding. There is little doubt, however, that the sunflower seed added to their size and strength. This may have helped them avoid potential injury from other bears by being to run very fast. All of this gave them a better chance of survival in times of food shortages.

Rosie weighed 70kg on August 10th(determined with a platform scale). This was probably her lowest weight in 1998. She was the smallest of the three. By 1998 denning time we anticipate that each yearling will weigh a minimum of 100kg.

Cubs Relationship with Other Bears

Many encounters were observed between the orphans and other bears. There were also many different kinds of responses from the cubs depending on the age, sex and aggressiveness displayed by the bears encountered. We discovered that the cubs and later when they were yearlings often spent the nights on cliffs where large bears would have trouble to move quickly. It also allowed the orphans the advantage of being able to spot strange bears approaching. They could out run the large male bears, which sometimes chased them. This was observed in May1998. Females with cubs tended to move the orphans away from their own cubs. Lone females disregarded them in most instances.

One three or four-year sub adult female joined up with the cubs for two weeks in late May and early June. This bear was very persistent in wanting to travel and play with the three cubs. Although they tolerated her, they never really accepted this bear. During the first week the cubs were aggressive towards her, then, because she was older and larger, she became quite aggressive to them. Eventually this bear separated from the cubs and went her own way.

In late June, the cubs joined up with a pair of 2-year-olds, which had recently been weaned from their mother. This was observed for one day only. They seemed to join up with other families only when adults were not present and although they got close to each other, there was no physical contact made between groups.

The cub’s responses to other bears were different when they were traveling with us during the 1998 season at Kambalnoe. Sometimes they would be quite aggressive to bears in our presence. On one occasion they chased a female, who had three 1-½ year old cubs of her own, for one kilometer over a steep mountain. In other instances, they hustled near us, usually behind, seemingly for a greater sense of security from bears that we encountered on walks together. We never felt in danger in this kind of altercation because the other bears seemed so puzzled by it and did not act aggressive towards us. Eventually they would just leave.

Cubs Relationship with People

The behavior of the three orphan cubs towards people as they got older is one of the most important aspects of our study. It gave us an opportunity to use the orphan cub program as an indicator as to whether it was possible to sustain a safe relationship with bears that do not fear people. Historically, there has been a belief that habituated bears (bears who have lost their natural fear of people) are dangerous bears.

Our study has been designed to find out if this is true, or is it possible that the behavior of humans was the factor that determined whether or not it is it was possible to maintain a safe relationship with bears that have lost their fear of people. These cubs had begun their post-den lives burdened by having spent time in a zoo where they were fed from people’s hands but because of their tremendous intelligence, they soon stopped expecting to be fed by hand when we assiduously avoided doing so. We had already learned from observations in North America that hand feeding led to the bears demanding food from people and being aggressive if it was not forthcoming. Therefore we were looking for a better way and arrived at the method of simply placing food in bowls when they were not present. We firmly believe that this method is instrumental in fostering a gentle attitude in bears toward people. This simple fact, fortified by the evidence of our exposure, has become even more profound as time passed. At the point of our departure in September 1998, the orphans were still very safe, even among strangers.

As we understand them so far, the reasons for the success of our program to date comes down to:

  1. We never tease the cubs;
  2. We are careful not to hurt them;
  3. We taught them the word "no" so that we can set boundaries of acceptable behavior; and finally,
  4. We are respectful their feelings at all times.

We see no reason that our relationship of trust will not last as long as it is not violated in some way. This is why we need to supervise other people who are in the company of the orphans while the study is in progress. Otherwise we would not know what caused a behavioral change and all our work would be of no use.

Co-Existence Study

Use of the Human Voice to Diffuse Anxiety

As I, Charlie, wrote in our 1997 annual report: The human voice is the most important tool for remaining safe in bear country. We find that yelling and the use of noisemakers are intrusive. Talking calmly to the bear can almost always diffuse aggressive posturing, on the bear’s part, in close encounters, assuring him that no harm is intended.

This conclusion of last year’s work was reinforced many times this past season. One wonderful example: "Charlie and I, Maureen, rounded a corner of the lakeshore with our 3 cubs at our heels, to encounter Brandy and her 3 cubs (who we called the "Drinks"-Gin, Tonic and Rum). Brandy sent her cubs above us into the dense grass, out of our sight. She stood up; chuffing and making the popping sound. Years ago I would have interpreted this behavior as a sign of aggression – soon to be followed by a charge. Charlie spoke softly to this mother bear, telling her we had babies too and everything would be OK and that we meant no harm. She dropped to all fours and looked suspiciously at our cubs, which were now peeking at her from between our legs. Reassured, she calmly walked up the hill to join her cubs, continued back down to the lakeshore, and proceeded to fish."

We believe most bears when they are surprised in close encounters, are as alarmed by the experience as humans are. They need reassurance from humans that no ill is intended. Taking to them calmly is the best response on our part. We do not hesitate to look the bear in the eyes either to further give them assurance that we are safe. The right kind of eye contact is an indicator useful for a bear trying to read a person’s intentions.

I, Maureen, have begun a collection of recorded sounds bears make in a variety of circumstances. I have been afforded this unique opportunity by living in such close association with our 3 cubs. I have excellent recordings of chuffing and the popping sounds along with many others. I have noted how the cubs feel when they make specific sounds. I have observed that the chuffing and popping sound is a sound of anxiety and often fear. This knowledge has helped me to talk calmly to a bear when I startle one with my presence.

Understanding the Capability of the Bear’s Memory

I, Maureen, have been asked many times, what has surprised me the most from what I have learned about bears this past season that could impact how we could get along with bears better along the eastern slopes of the Rockies.

Our cubs have demonstrated to us many times over their ability to remember details about what we may have shown them a year before regarding where to find food. This behavior was expected but not to the accuracy of what they remembered as to exact location. What has been more surprising is their sensitivity to remembering responses from us that affect them emotionally.

We have to remember that bears in Alberta may have a 20year history of a variety of encounters with humans and some not so pleasant. With this understanding, it is not surprising that we have so many aggressive responses.

Electric Fencing

One of the innovations I am most pleased about since being allowed the honor of working in Kamchatka, is the introduction of solar powered electric fencing as a tool to protect both bears and people.

This technology is extremely useful where bears need to be managed as to what they are allowed to touch or for restricting access to certain areas where they might cause damage, or cause damage either to property or to themselves. Properly used, it can eliminate almost all conflicts that usually occur where people and bears need to exist in the same area without causing each other harm.

We have gained a lot of practical experience with the use of electric fencing in the course of our work in the "Living with Bears Study in Kamchatka".

The electrical power for the fence was supplied through the use of livestock type accumulators fed by solar panels and stored in 12-volt batteries. Our use of electric fence can be broken down into five initiatives. These are as follows:

  1. The fence around our cabin kept the many bears that frequent the Kambalnoe Lake area away from our food and garbage. This was approximately a 250-sq. meter area and includes a compost pit where we put our vegetable refuse. In the three years we have been at Kambalnoe, no bear has penetrated this fence. On several occasions we watched as bears touch the fence during their first encounter with it. The jolt of electricity they receive has no lasting effect but it certainly delivers the message that this is something to avoid in the future. To our knowledge no bear ever tested the fence a second time;
  2. We have a separate fence around the toilet, which comprises of only one low wire 18cm above the ground to prevent bears from digging under the house and another two wires across the doorway. The low wire was a minimum fence experiment and we were pleasantly surprised at how well it worked.
  3. I installed a satellite fence around my aircraft. This was comprised of three wires, creating a 13-meter square area in which I kept the plane secure while it was not in use. To further protect the aircraft from damage when I was away from home base, I used a small fencing unit that attached directly to the plane to provide a shock to any bear or fox that touched the metal frame. The rubber and plastic float worked as an insulator from the ground;
  4. When the cubs were young and required protection from other bears, we built another compound near the cabin of about 400 sq. meters. Because they were small and only wanted to crawl under the wires, we lowered the bottom one to only 8 cm above the ground and did not supply power to it as there was a problem with vegetation grounding it. Based on their experience with powered wire, they also did not touch this wire either; and
  5. We have extended our electrical fencing experiment to the research station at Kurilskoye as well. In the spring of last year we built an electric fence around the village there which is home to 20 to 30 people including children. We wanted to see if the considerable conflict station residences have experienced with bears could be reduced. Because it is situated where the river flows out of the lake, and is a cross road of bear activity, there is a well established history of bears getting into their gardens, garbage and smashing the fish weir. The weir is a fence across the river with gates which allow approximately two million salmon that migrate into Kurilskoye lake each year, to be counted. Also, there was the constant worry that goes with children playing while the many bears also used the people trails among the buildings. Alexei Maslov and his wife Katja told me and I have observed, that all this has changed with the fence in place. Because the fence only encircles the encampment but leaves room for the bears to continue to move along the riverbank on their traditional trails, there is no real disruption to the 70 or more bears, which use the area. Alexei related to me that early this spring, through interpreting tracks in the snow, a bear approached to within ten feet of where the fence had been in 1997 (it was yet to be erected for the 1998 season). The bear turned and kept to the outside of where the fence had been, continuing half way around the perimeter of the imaginary fence. This was a perfect demonstration of the powerful lessons learned from electric fencing and the deterrent to entry that it fosters.

    It was the first spring, in the 17 years he had been at the station, that Alexei saw no bears among the buildings, even though there were the usual number of bears in the area. This is an outstanding example of people living with bears with the least degree of conflict. This year the weir was also successfully protected from being damaged by bears, the first time this has happened in the 58-year history of the station.

Pepper Spray

Counter Assault (Pepper Spray) is a product that we endorse but one that we have not thoroughly tested and feel no need to do so. It has an active ingredient of Oleoresin Capsicum-10% and was developed for use as a bear deterrent by the University of Montana. It was extensively tested at the time of development and there have since been many testimonials as to its effectiveness since it came on the market. We feel that in situations where an attack has been provoked and contact by the bear is likely then there is no better way the prevent injury to the person being attacked. It also to protect the bear from the inevitable death that usually follows a bear encounter where injury occurs to a human. Even though there would seem to be inherent problems that could arise from needing to spray into the wind, it remains remarkably effective in all sorts of situations. As long as people relying on the product carry it where it is within quick, easy reach and can be brought into action on a moment’s notice. Carrying the canister in a holster mounted on a belt best facilitates this. All of these are available commercially.

My partner and I both carried pepper spray whenever we left the cabin and insisted that our guests do the same. Even though we never had to use it, we believed that carrying it allowed us the confidence to be relaxed when we encountered bears. We discovered that a calm voice is the best tool for calming an aggressive bear.

We feel that this product has not been promoted enough by bear managers and others who are put in the position of giving advice about what to do in case of a bear attack

There are times when a bear or other animal can be sprayed with unimpressive results. For example, if a bear is actually passive prior to spraying it will hardly react, but a bear who is attacking, excited and taking in lung full of air, will react very strongly and hence be diverted. Others have tried to use pepper spray as a repellant by spraying it onto things they do not want a bear to meddle with. Here too, the results are less than satisfactory, as bears will often be attracted to the pepper residue. Maureen tested this by spraying the pepper onto snow and our cubs were quite attracted to it and rolled in the snow where the pepper was sprayed. It is therefore important not to spray pepper on things, thinking that this will keep a bear away from that item. The opposite effect might be achieved.

Maureen also sprayed the young female that stayed with the cubs for two weeks and which had become aggressive to them. The bear fled and eventually left the area.


  1. We are confident that we have demonstrated it is possible to return orphaned cubs to a wilderness setting successfully. Although the sample size is as yet small and the time yet insufficient to draw final conclusions, the fact that our three cubs have already made it through two full spring, summer and fall seasons, and have gone through one denning cycle, is very encouraging.
  2. Supplementary feeding, done carefully, is a useful tool in facilitating the reintroduction of orphaned cubs. We have demonstrated through our methodology that such feeding can be done without creating an undue dependence or promoting aggressive food-seeking behavior.
  3. Even cubs orphaned at a very young age demonstrate a remarkable capacity for learning. This was no more evident than in how quickly our cubs learned through experimentation, which natural foods were worth eating. They became very good practicing plant ecologists and nutritionists at the primal level. Our cubs also became proficient at catching fish, far beyond what their wild cousins could do at the same age.
  4. Orphaned cubs appear to have an instinctive ability to choose a den site and dig a den.
  5. The use of the human voice continues to be proven as the most effective tool for remaining safe in bear country.
  6. An understanding of the capability of the bear’s memory with regard to what impacts them emotionally, could further our understanding of what causes aggressive responses with some bears.
  7. Solar electric fencing is a highly effective tool in protecting both bears and people from each other. Its judicious use can greatly reduce possible conflicts as our work at Kurilskoye Lake has amply demonstrated.

Goals For 1999

  1. We wish to return to Kamchatka in early May 1999 and utilize the Kambalnoe Lake study area to continue our research pursuant to the goals as set out in the introduction of our report.
  2. If available we will accept another litter of orphan cubs to continue the study of orphan cub re-introduction in an area with an adult population of brown bears.
  3. We will continue to make our research results available to the rest of the world through the web site etc. We have been approached by IMAX to work with them to do a film on our co-existence study at Kambalnoe Lake.
  4. We wish to assist the Kronotsky State Preserve and. The Committee for Ecology and Nature Conservation in their efforts to stop the illegal hunting of brown bears in the South Kamchatka Sanctuary.

Distribution of Research Results

Slide Lectures

Public Presentations

Charles Russell, Kerby Center, Calgary, Alberta, February 6,1998

Maureen Enns, Banff, Alberta, February, 1998

Maureen Enns and Charlie Russell, Chateau Lake Louise, March 18, 1998. Presentation following end of conference dinner. Attended by 200 international delegates.

Sponsor’s Invitational Presentations

January through April, 1998:


Web Site http://www.norquay.com/grizzlies:

CD ROM and Link to Active Web Site

Strike a committee of educators and technologists in January1999, to develop optimal approach for this educational tool’s development. Strike committee of volunteers to work with Enns and Russell to facilitate the development of an educational CD-ROM for school distribution.

Seek second committee of volunteers to develop strategic plan for development and distribution. Seek funding by December 1999 emphasizing focus on educational development grants.

Calgary Area Outdoor Council / Cloudline Environmental Foundation Partnership to Host Educational Event

The CAOC is an umbrella not for profit organization that brings together cooperation and pooling of thought regarding conservation and implementation of use of wild spaces. Its membership includes Alberta Wilderness Association, Alpine Club of Canada, Calgary Parks and Recreation, Canadian ski Patrol System; to name a few of the 90 associates.

CAOC and the Cloudline Environmental Foundation (CEF) plan to form a partnership to host one event: An illustrated presentation at Calgary’s Jubilee Auditorium, to an audience of 3,000, in the year 2,000. Educational pamphlets on "Getting Along With Bears" will be available at the presentation of the same title. Maureen Enns and Charlie Russell will deliver the slide talk.

Books in the Works

Media Coverage 1998




Active Web Site

James Gosling of Sun Microsystems Ltd. Along with his sister Barb and her husband, Derek Small, convinced Charlie and I, Maureen, a web site we could update twice weekly with photos and diary entries, was the way to go if we wanted our research results made available to the world. Sun Microsystems Ltd., San Francisco, USA, and Sun Microsystems Of Canada Inc. co-sponsored the site. James Gosling managed our site. Barb and Derek taught us in the last 3 weeks prior to departure for Kamchatka, how to use a notebook, a digital camera and a satellite phone. By August, we were receiving 1,000 hits a day!

See it @: http://www.norquay.com/grizzlies/

Exhibition Proposal: Through the Eyes of the Bear as Interpreted by Artist, Maureen Enns

At the southern tip of the Kamchatka peninsula, in the Russian Far East, we built our cabin at the foot of the Kambalnoe volcano in what has to be the last of the great wilderness areas left I the world. We live with about 400 of the giant grizzlies of our area along with 3 orphan grizzlies, which we have re-introduced, back into the wild.

Purpose of the Exhibition

The grizzly is an animal that in North American culture is held as both a symbols of wilderness and power. Most humans fear the grizzly bear. The purpose of this exhibition is to bring about an enlightened and positive understanding of this animal. It is my understanding that what man understands, he/she will protect and what is feared, will be destroyed. Historically bears have provoked fear and terror in the hearts of mankind – their future is uncertain. This exhibition is to have an artistic and educational purpose: to encourage an enlightened understanding about the true nature of the grizzly bear, using art as the vehicle.


The exhibition is to be interactive. Progress through the exhibition will unfold through the eyes of the bear with the use of photographs, textures, sounds, moving images, paintings, drawings and text. There are 6 components to this exhibition. To show the work at its best, they should be exhibited in the order as presented. Enns and Russell will deliver a slide presentation the evening following the opening of the exhibition.


"Through The Eyes of the Bear" will premiere at the opening of the new Muttart Public Art Gallery in the fall of 1999.

The Six Components (Modules):

Part 1 - Line Of Sight

Is to function as an introduction. It will, with the use of 2 maps, 20 photos and a didactic panel, create a sense of place and entry into the world of the bear. In Kamchatka, Maureen and her partner, Charles Russell, live in close association with their 3 orphan cubs in a region they share with about 400 other wild grizzlies.

Part 2 - Into Deep Water

Is to be an emotional and physical entry. Gallery visitors will by walking down a 35foot corridor on tracks of grizzlies of all ages, pressed into clay, and thus be transported into the bear’s world.)

Part 3 - Anthropomorhism

Background: The attribution of human feelings to those of an animal has met with a lot of criticism in many circles ranging from the scientific to the artistic. As soon as artists draw cats or owls and render them with emotional appeal, the work is deemed trivial. Thus when in the 1980’s, when I first used an animal in my paintings (the horse in the "Beauty Pageant" series, I was fearful of the outcome in terms of my professional reputation. I managed to crab-walk around the issue by using the horses as symbols of beautiful women, alone and exquisite, objects of an uneasy objectivity. Now that I have entered the realm of the bear in my art, I have decided to grapple with the issue that frightened me earlier – the feelings that animals express that are similar to a human’s.

When I first meet a person, it is only guesswork as to what they are feeling at a given moment. As I get to know this person better, I am likely to interpret their feelings with a greater degree of accuracy merely by looking at their body language or listening to sounds they make. Likewise with our 3 orphaned cubs. Now that I have formed a relationship of friendship and trust with them, I can start interpreting their emotional world. With the painting: "Entry: Chico, Biscuit and Rosie", I am using the dreaming bears in a semi abstract doorway to illustrate where I am on this pathway of discovery. I am at the beginning – looking and interpreting intuitively

Part 4 - The Bear Who Looked For Beauty

In 1996, I began to suspect that bears dug many of their beds in locations where upon awakening they could enjoy the view. I began to accept the possibility that grizzlies have an aesthetic sensibility. In 1997 I produced on location the three parts to this statement:

  1. A grid of 12 color photos of 8"x10" each of bear beds which I call nesting sites. One larger photo of "the bear who looked for beauty"(sitting bear photo - gazing at the volcano.)
  2. A grid of 6 paintings on paper (25"x36"each) depicting my interpretation of the nesting sites. I sat above the sites and painted them, as I perceived them.
  3. I sat in these nests, imagining I was a bear, allowing the energy of the surrounding area to influence my painting style. Looking out at the bear’s eye level, I decided the bear interpreted the scene as an impressionist painter would. 8 watercolors will be exhibited in a grid (22"x30" each).

Part 5 - Another Dimension

A selection of 10 mixed media paintings that reflect what is like to live in the world of the bear. I feel as if I have entered another dimension. Minimal use of text will be used to explain this part of the exhibition.

Part 6 - In Situ

A Latin phrase used mostly in the legal profession and by archeologists means "leave it alone". With the use of a laser disc projector, I will fill a gallery wall with ten minutes of video footage filmed with our orphan cubs at Kambalnoe Lake. Here, the wild grizzlies have had little previous history with man and have developed no reasons to become aggressive. The video will show us living in close proximity with these gentle giants, learning where we went wrong in North America. Kambalnoe Lake is a "Jewell", left in the world where bears have a sanctuary and should be left alone to determine their own destiny and choose their relationship with man. "Sanctum Sanctorum" means the place where you go to be alone for yourself. Bears are magnificent creatures, largely misunderstood by man and are unto themselves. This place and its bears shown in this video is about leaving Kambalnoe Lake untouched – by tourism, human inquisitiveness, to be protected in perpetuity. It is perhaps enough for the rest of the world to know it exists!

Part 7 - Denning Site

Is to be a singular experience where participants enter an enclosed area alone. Light is excluded. Only a pair of ear- phones exists and a place to sit. Visitors to "Denning Site" listen for 4 minutes to the sounds bears make: when they are playing, walking on the beach, crying in anger, chirring as they feed at their mother’s nipple, or chuff when they are afraid. A short voice over will interpret the sounds for the listener.

Sponsorship: 1996-1998

An undertaking like this would be impossible with the support of our many generous sponsors. Their continuing support is very deeply appreciated.

Corporate Donors

Sponsors (US$1,000 and Over)

The Robert Schad Foundation
Clayoquot Island Preserve
Parallax Film Productions Inc.
Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd.
Alberta Foundation for the Arts
Sun Microsystems of USA Inc.
Sun Microsystems of Canada Inc.
Masters Gallery Ltd

The Canada Council
S. M. Blair Family Foundation
Anonymous Contributor
Microsoft Corporation
Daymen Photo Marketing Ltd.
Anonymous Foundation
Canada Trust Mortgage Company
Fanwood Foundation West

Patrons (to US $999)

Trimac Corporation
Smed Manufacturing Ltd.
Development Matters Inc.

Ralph Heddin Associates Ltd.
Dr. J. V. Horsely Professional Corporation
Kodak Canada Inc.

Individual Donors

Sponsors (US$1,000 and Over)

Robert and Birgit Bateman
Joan A. Martin
Ellen Smith
Signa Reid, Larry Mills
Carol A. Bowker

Neil Smith
Gerald Zyphers
Doug Williams
Anonymous Contributor
John and Barbara Poole

Patrons (to US$999)

Kent and Marilyn Jesperson
Jeanne Kaufman
Joan and John Rouse
Norm Simmons
Dr. Jorge Winkler
Dr. Max and Eva Miller
Tatiana Williamson
Aaron R. Renert
Mrs. Mary Simpson
Robert Francis
Jason Kowalski
Richard and Terry Parsons
Robert and Christine Sparrow
Rudolf and Herta Klann
Betty Anne Giares
Peter, Tim and Anne Raabe
Roland Dixon

Don Sylvester
Joy and the late Bernie Lieff
Faith Hall
Bert Van Bekkum
R. A. N. Bonnycastle
Adele Dand
Dr. S. T. Myles
Sally Meecham
Doug and Jane Leach
Dr. David and Noah Cebuliak
Ralph Christoffersen
Caroline Davies
Yvonne Sugimoto
Laura Palmer
Anthony Cook
Pat and Rosemarie Keough
anonymous patron

Contributions In-Kind

Counter Assault
Bushwacker Backpack& Supply Co. Ltd.
Calgary Area Outdoor Council
Creative Travel Adventures Ltd.
Maureen and Mike Heffring
Dr. Ernest Enns
Lynn Woodworth
Sundog Printing Ltd.
Julie Crilly
Ursula Reynolds
Dick and Colleen Russell
Dr. Bill Hanlon
Janice Anderson
Daymen Photo Marketing Ltd.
Uwe Mummenhoff
Faralee Chanin (LLB, MBA)
Lowe Pro USA Inc.
Barb Gosling and Derek Small and Karitas
James Gosling
Michael and Esther Brenner
Peter and Wendy Ehlers
Bradner Homes Ltd.
Bristol Foster

Ecosummer Expeditions
Myrna Shapter
Big Rock Brewery Ltd.
Rick and Bev Durvin
John Ghittan
Debbie and Tim McDonald
Buzzman Aviation
Ocean Visions (Tom Ellison, Jenny Broom)
Murray Automotives
Environics Research Group (West)
Russ McKinnon, McKinnon Carstairs Barristers and Soloicitors
Xerox Canada Ltd.
Hal Grainer, Port Consolidators
Sunmar Container Lines Inc
Bob and Brenda Mazur
Sandra and Theresa Balak
Jan Theunisz
Bowker and Skudds
Jeanne Kaufman
Don Pickard
Tom Matheson
Masters Gallery Ltd.
N.J. Hewitt

Sponsoring Foundations
The Great Bear Foundation, Montana, USA
Trail of the Great Bear, Alberta, Canada
Raincoast Conservation Foundation, B.C., Canada
Craighead Environmental Research Institute, Montana, USA


Financial information omitted from web report


Financial information omitted from web report