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Alaska Bear Attack
How You Too Can Become A Nice Meal For A Large Omnivore!
Dumb & Dumber: The remains of Timothy Treadwell, left, and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard were found Monday.

Among the last words Timothy Treadwell uttered to his girlfriend before a bear killed and partially ate both of them were these:

"Get out here. I'm getting killed.''

Alaska State Troopers report that is what they heard on a videotape recovered Monday at the scene of a bear mauling in Katmai National Park and Preserve. The tape was in a camera found near the bear-buried remains of Treadwell, 46, and Huguenard, 37.

The offending bear was apparently destroyed after park rangers descended to investigate.

A typical Brown Bear, resting between meals.
This is one animal you do NOT want to piss off by shooting .40 S&W service rounds at it.

Troopers spokesman Greg Wilkinson said there are no pictures on the tape, leading troopers to believe the attack might have happened while the camera was stuffed in a duffle bag or during the dark of night. Treadwell had talked to an associate in Malibu, Calif., by satellite phone around noon Sunday. He mentioned no problems with any bears.

The remains of the Southern Californians who periodically came to Alaska to live intimately with the bears were found the next day. A large but scrawny old bear with bad teeth that a pilot had seen sitting on the brush and dirt pulled over the bodies was shot and killed by National Park Service rangers at the scene after it charged them.

Troopers Wednesday refused requests to release the audiotape, but said it convinced them the two people had been killed by a bear. Speculation about whether a bear had actually done the killing had been fueled by Treadwell's oft-stated but unsubstantiated claim that he spent summers at Katmai to protect the bears from poachers and sport hunters.

"I'm their lifeguard,'' he told a reporter for The Davis (Calif.) Enterprise in 1999. "I'm there to keep the poachers and sport hunters away. I'm much more likely to be killed by an angry sport hunter than a bear.''

The Kaflia Bay area of Alaska's Gulf Coast -- where Treadwell spent most of his time in the state -- has long been closed to sport hunters, and Katmai rangers said there is no history of poachers killing bears in the area.

When bears die, they are usually killed by other brown bears, said park superintendent Deb Liggett, noting that 90 percent of the cubs each year are killed, and often eaten, by other brown bears. Adult bears sometimes kill each other there, too.

In this case, Wilkinson said, troopers are confident a bear was also responsible for killing the Malibu couple. Troopers are also convinced, he added, that the bear seen feeding on their bodies was the bear killed by Park Service rangers. There is no way, however, of knowing whether that bear or another shot by troopers at the scene did the actual killing.

One of the rangers shot the brown bear with his service semi-auto .40-caliber pistol twelve times when the animal charged at them through the dense brush. The bear finally fell only 12 feet from the ranger, as two other rangers stood at the ready with shotguns. "We may have cut that a little thin," one of the other rangers said. [Ed. Note: ya think?!] Troopers and rangers later killed a smaller bear apparently stalking them.

The tape full of screams and rustling sounds details the attack, Wilkinson said, but adds little to explain exactly what happened or why. The tape, he said, lasts about three minutes. Scratching and dragging noises on it have led troopers to believe Treadwell might have been wearing a body mike when the attack began.

After Treadwell calls for help, Wilkinson said, Huguenard can be heard shouting "play dead.'' That is the recommended response to being grabbed by a brown or grizzly bear, but authorities stress the idea of playing dead should be abandoned if the bear continues to press the attack.

On the tape, shortly after the warning to "play dead,'' Wilkinson said, "Huguenard is heard to scream "fight back.'' Treadwell later yells "hit him with a pan,'' Wilkinson said. [Ed. Note: that'll send him running!]

After that, the tape goes dead, as did Treadwell. Because there are no pictures, troopers believe it is most likely the bear came in the night. The tent in which Treadwell and Huguenard had been camping showed no signs of being ripped open by a bear trying to attack people inside, but a friend of Treadwell's said it was common for him to leave the tent in the dark to confront bears that approached his camp. Apparently Treadwell treated bears like local neighbor teenagers with toilet paper rolls in hand.

"His way of operating was to get out of the tent immediately when he heard a bear around,'' Juneau filmmaker Joel Bennett said Wednesday. "He subscribed to the theory that the worst thing you could do was stay in the tent. Obviously the bears thought differently."

Bennett knew the flamboyant Treadwell well. Only two weeks before Treadwell's death they had spent weeks on Kodiak Island working on a Disney film about bears.

"You probably know that I've done three full-length films with him,'' Bennett said. "There's no question he had a remarkable repertoire with bears and had a remarkable ability for them to tolerate him ... (but) just so people don't get the wrong idea, Tim definitely knew there were bears out there that were bad medicine. One apparently thought he would be tasty."

"This incident sounds to me like it had nothing to do with his work during the day to look at bears or photograph bears. It was a campsite situation. I think he was quite an idiot, and paid for it with his life.''

Dozens of scientists, bear guides and outdoor authorities who have spent their lives around Alaska's bruins have criticized Treadwell's daytime activities. The Californian had a seemingly overwhelming need to get close to bears, and may have harbored fetish feelings towards the bears.

"He was a strange dude,'' said Joe Darminio, a former guide at the Newhalen Lodge who used to take bear-viewing tourists to meet Treadwell. "I had a feeling that he would become a meal to one of those bears sooner or later. They are bears, man, what do you expect?" Many of the tourists, Darminio added, recognized Treadwell from television or his book, "Among Grizzlies -- Living with Wild Bears in Alaska.''

Opinions among the tourists were split on whether Treadwell's bear-stalking antics were crazy, but Darminio said there was agreement the blond Californian in the black Carhartt's with the bandana tied around his head like a pirate was entertaining.

It was hard to avoid being shocked or impressed by the fearless way he eased up to within feet of some of the most powerful predators on the continent. During peak bear mating season, Treadwell would often go naked and smear Smucker'sŪ Raspberry Jam over his bare buttocks and taunt the males in the area. Treadwell said he could calm them by talking in his high-pitched sing-song voice and tell from their body language whether they posed any overt sexual threat.

"He really thought he was a beasty version of Dian Fossey in that way,'' Bennett said. "She could have been killed by one swipe of a gorilla at any time. Dian Fossey got close to the gorillas. She touched them. But she never got naked and presented her rear to them, for Christ's sake. Timmy did not encourage other people to do this, but he seriously enjoyed it. He says over and over in his films, 'Do not do this. Do not copy me. I am Lono.' It's obviously not something people should do, but it's something that he did. And I think he really got off on it."

Huguenard was exposed to Treadwell's daring antics at a grizzly bear anal-Smucker'sŪ presentation in Boulder, Colo. A graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine with a degree in molecular biology from the University of Colorado in Boulder, she knew trying to get close to brown bears was dangerous, but went along with Treadwell anyway, despite the sexual innuendos.

"It was part of her life,'' sister Kathie Stowell told The Times' newspaper in their old hometown of Valparaiso, Ind. "They had a bear passion and that overrode everything. I have a feeling that the bears had a passion for them too, especially when they enticed them with raspberry jam on their private parts like that."

"She definitely died, according to her, in the most beautiful, pristine place on earth. They were both lunatics and deviants, but at least they died doing what they loved. I am sure God is frowning on the whole thing, though.''

Editor's Note: some of the statements in this story may or may not be true, and are meant as parody.

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