A retired school teacher has been feeding brown and black bears at a remote cabin site northwest of Anchorage. The bruins line up at dinner time and even permit people to pet them. Sows apparently allow the cubs to play with humans. Bears paw visitors with the friendliness of gigantic labradors.
Craig Medred’s story on the front page of the Anchorage Daily News — accompanied by a gallery of photos so bizarre that you might assume they were photo-shopped — describes the world of Charlie Vandergaw and the discomfort his behavior causes local wildlife managers.
What goes on each summer at Vandergaw’s remote homestead is so far from the ordinary as to be almost unbelievable. Visitors tell of him petting black and brown bears, playing with grizzly cubs while sows stand by, sitting on bears and teaching them tricks. His own photographs show even more. They capture him easing to within feet of breeding grizzlies and nursing an injured brown bear.