THE MAN WHO LIVES WITH BEARS,
ON "PRIMETIME: THE OUTSIDERS,"
AIRING TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1
What would compel a retired school teacher from Anchorage, Alaska to live in the wilderness, opening his cabin's surroundings up to wild black bears and grizzlies, the largest land predator in North America? Jay Schadler goes into the deep woods of Alaska to find out, and asks: which is more dangerous, a 700 pound grizzly or a 71-year-old retired school teacher named Charlie? The hour reports on the most recent and unexpected developments since last year's "Primetime" on the subject, including how an unexpected friendship between Charlie and a hunter develops and the impact that mounting pressure from Alaskan authorities has had on Charlie's relationship with the bears. "Primetime: The Outsiders" airs TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
Charlie Vandergaw began his life among bears in the wild more than 20 years ago. He had built a cabin 50 miles from Anchorage and left the majority of his 40 acres untouched, which was an ideal environment for hunting. During the winter he taught high school science, and he spent his summers in the cabin. But gradually he stopped hunting bears and transformed to simply living among them. Over the summers, he has seen eight generations of bears come and go and knows most of them by the names he has given them. He says he has a special connection to the bears, that he is obsessed with touching them and that, in particular, he is mesmerized by grizzlies. He invites "Primetime" to the place he calls "bear haven," where no matter where one looks, there are bears relaxing, bears fighting, and Charlie right in the middle of it all. Despite the fact that these animals can quickly turn into killers and that the state is watching Charlie closely, he continues, as he has for the past two decades, to live among the bears. But as Schadler reports, Charlie's greatest fear has not been the grizzlies and black bears in his backyard - but humans who could ruin his paradise.
David Sloan is the executive producer of "Primetime: The Outsiders."
Please note: Segments have changed since this was originally issued